Fox Chapel girls hold off Norwin
By Bill Beckner Jr.
Published: Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, 10:54 p.m.
Fox Chapel had another case of the shakes.
Only this time, it wasn't because of late-game nerves in the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals.
As part of a new playoff tradition, the team went out for McDonald's Shamrock Shakes after their game Friday night, a reward after the Foxes left Norwin green with envy at North Allegheny.
No. 3 seed Fox Chapel held off No. 6 Norwin, 55-51, to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2009.
Fox Chapel (19-4) will meet No. 7 Penn-Trafford (18-6), which upset No. 2 Mt. Lebanon, 32-24, on Tuesday.
Norwin (17-6), which was seeking its first semifinal appearance since 1980, and can still make the PIAA playoffs if Fox Chapel wins the WPIAL title.
“We like to goof around and have fun, but we set goals too,” said Fox Chapel sophomore guard Kayla Slovenec, who tied a game-high with 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. “One of the goals was winning another playoff game and getting (back to the semifinals). So, we're heading out to get our Shamrock Shakes.”
Fox Chapel didn't need shamrocks — or any good luck charms — to reach the final four.
Behind strong play from its underclass backcourt, which provided key defensive stops and helped counter double-teams on 6-foot-3 star center Erin Mathias, the Foxes showed poise, especially with the lead.
“We upped the ante (with team goals and rewards),” Fox Chapel coach Meghan Meabon said. “I can't say enough about our defense; that helped us keep it a game in the first half and we were mentally strong in the second half.”
Fox Chapel used a 16-0 run that began late in the second quarter and lasted midway through the third as the Foxes imposed their 2-2-1 press on the Knights.
“They're a well-coached team, and they made some nice adjustments,” said Norwin coach Brian Brozeski. “They changed up the pace, and that kind of put us on our heels.”
Mathias scored eight of her 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Foxes pushed their lead to 52-45.
“They have some good shooters, so we had to stay tight on them and keep pressuring them,” Slovenec said.
Norwin, which led by two at the half, rallied to cut the deficit to two twice in the final 3:27. But it never regained the lead.
A three-point play by Delany Arbore (16 points) off a steal and pass from Julia Carter got Norwin to within 53-51 with 47.1 seconds to go.
Norwin gained possession after a pair of Fox Chapel free-throw misses but couldn't cash in, missing a layup with about 30 seconds to play.
Anna Kelly made a pair of free throws for Fox Chapel with 2.6 seconds to seal it. Kelly finished with 12 points.
“Our girls are doing a much better job of understanding their roles,” Meabon said. “We preach basketball IQ. Our girls are getting better learning what to do in certain situations.”
Brozeski, who said Fox Chapel's guard play was the difference, thinks his team will remain focused, even with the season in relative limbo.
“Win or lose, it's been a successful season for us, even if you just look at how the girls practice every day,” he said. “That, to me, is the most inspiring thing.”
Carter and Alayna Gribble scored nine apiece for Norwin. Taylor Cohen led Fox Chapel with seven assists.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.
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.
- Defensive stop sets tone in Erie McDowell win over Kiski Area
- Hampton, Luther prove too tall a task for Allderdice
- Minnie paces Lincoln Park in PIAA opening-round rout of Johnsonburg
- Blackhawk fights past sloppy 1st half to beat Mercyhurst
- Greensburg Central Catholic boys roll past Bald Eagle in PIAA opener
- PIAA boys basketball roundup: Chartiers Valley pulls out first-round victory
- North Allegheny girls enjoy ‘bounce back’ win over WPIAL champion Penn-Trafford
- Lady Trojans set for PIAA playoffs
- Frazier, EF girls set to hit PIAA road
- PIAA girls basketball roundup: Mt. Lebanon ousted in first round
- Seton-La Salle girls cruise past Blairsville