Fox Chapel girls beat Pine-Richland with big 3rd quarter
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Of the several breakdowns Fox Chapel's girls basketball team endured in the first half of its WPIAL Class AAAA first-round game against Pine-Richland, coach Meghan Meabon considered the Foxes' underwhelming rebounding performance the most unacceptable.
Meabon held no part of her dissatisfaction back when he addressed the girls at halftime.
The Foxes held Pine-Richland to five points in the third quarter.
Down by two points at halftime, No. 3 seed Fox Chapel (18-4) rallied and topped the No. 14 Rams, 47-37, on Tuesday at North Hills. The Foxes will play No. 6 Norwin (17-5) in the quarterfinals Friday at a site and time to be determined.
“I flipped out on them about rebounding in the first half,” Meabon said. “We knew we didn't play to our potential. We missed some easy shots, and we weren't giving ourselves second opportunities because our offensive rebounding was kind of blah.”
Pine-Richland (14-9), which listed no player on its roster taller than 5-foot-11, needed someone who could defensively challenge Fox Chapel 6-foot-3 senior forward Erin Mathias, a Duke recruit. The Rams turned to a double-team scheme in the second half but still struggled to slow Mathias, who finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocks.
“The game plan was, don't let her touch (the ball),” Pine-Richland coach Cliff Foster said. “Make the other four beat you, and we did that for a while. … When she touches the ball, forget the talent; it's just so unique, and bad things happen.”
Mathias' value also became apparent when Pine-Richland attempted to dictate the game's tempo by using a full-court press. The Foxes countered the press by placing Mathias in the center of the court, where she saw over any oncoming defenders and moved the ball seamlessly.
“I think it's good to give the other team a different look,” Mathias said. “Rather than put me back all the time, we're a little unpredictable with me in the middle.”
The clear edge in post play brought about by Mathias and sophomore forward Anna Kelly saved Fox Chapel during the first half. The Foxes, though an inefficient 8 for 30 from the field through two quarters, grabbed 10 offensive rebounds.
Three putbacks and four other field goals in the paint during the third quarter led to a far more satisfying show for Fox Chapel, which also blocked four Pine-Richland shots in that quarter and held an 8-2 edge in rebounds.
“We just had to keep our positivity,” Mathias said. “Especially at halftime, coach got on us, and we came out fired up and ready to go. ... My teammates have worked really hard on helping me on the boards, and that's what they did in the second half for sure.”
Caitlyn Byerly and Chelsea Rourke kept Pine-Richland's comeback hopes alive, as they accounted for 15 of the Rams' second-half points. Bylerly scored 14, and Rourke had 15.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.