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Fox Chapel girls basketball team looks to rebound in state tournament

Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Fox Chapel's Gabriella Badway (4) and Kayla Slovenec (12) battle Penn-Trafford's Athena Biondi (5) and Maria Palarino (12) for a loose ball during the WPIAL Class AAAA girls semifinal game on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, at Penn Hills High School.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Following a heart-wrenching loss to Penn-Trafford in the semifinals of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs, the Fox Chapel girls basketball team had a week off to regroup.

The Warriors claimed the title with a thrilling comeback win over Hempfield on Saturday, so the Foxes entered the PIAA tournament as the No. 3 team from the WPIAL. Coach Meghan Meabon's team will face Erie McDowell on Friday.

The loss to Penn-Trafford stung as the Foxes didn't have an answer for P-T's outstanding junior, Maria Palarino, who poured in 18 first-half points en route to a game-high 28-point effort.

“Our plan going in was to try to keep the ball away from her as much as we could,” Meabon said. “Obviously, it didn't work in the first half. Give her credit, though. She's an excellent player. We did manage to slow her down in the second half, but it was too late.”

Meabon is confident her team will put the loss behind it as it prepares for the state championships.

“It was a tough loss, and we didn't play our best but we'll move on. We have to,” she said. “We're at the point now that it's one-and-done. We have to be ready to go.”

Meabon said the girls on her team had the opportunity to watch the championship games, and are pumped up for another chance to get back on the court.

“They're ready to bounce back,” she said. “They learned some things from the loss.”

Meabon said the long break gave the team a chance to work on some things in the gym and “also to work on our basketball IQ as far as different game situations.

“We've been breaking down some things and stressing that we have to play hard every second or our season's over. With the long layoff, we'll make sure that we keep our legs strong.”

There's some history between Meabon and Erie McDowell coach Megan Fiala.

“We were teammates and roommates when we played at Edinboro,” Meabon said. “She's done a good job at McDowell. We played against them in a Christmas tournament in 2012, and we got to play against them in a Butler Shootout before this season.

“So we know a little bit about their team, and we'll have time go over some things. We'll be ready to play.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-782-2123 or

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