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Fox Chapel's Mathias named Gatorade Pa. Player of the Year

| Thursday, March 13, 2014, 2:08 p.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias gets tripped up by Hempfield's Lexi Irwin during their PIAA playoff game Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at Gateway.

Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias said her favorite flavor of Gatorade is Cool Blue.

Gatorade's favorite player in Pennsylvania is Mathias.

One of the more dominant post players to come out of the WPIAL in recent years, the 6-foot-3 senior standout on Thursday was named the Gatorade Pennsylvania Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

She is now a finalist for the sports drink's national award.

A Duke signee who committed to the Blue Devils when she was a freshman, Mathias this season averaged 16.6 points, 12.8 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game for the Foxes, who finished 20-6 and made the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA second round.

Mathias was a first-team all-state selection as a junior and this recognition all but seals that honor again.

Mathias scored 1,086 career points in only three seasons. She sat out her sophomore season after having minor knee surgery.

She created headaches for opposing coaches throughout her career.

“Her ability to step out and hit an outside shot or post someone up made her almost impossible to defend,” said McKeesport coach Eric Smith, whose team faced Mathias in Section 2-AAAA. “Plus, she was relentless on the offensive boards. If you double-teamed her or took away part of her offensive game, she would beat you by crashing the boards and getting putbacks and free throws.”

Mathias is the third player from the WPIAL to receive the honor over the past four years. Hopewell's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough won in 2013 and Mt. Lebanon's Madison Cable in 2011.

“I was nominated last year and obviously didn't expect to win it because of Shartori,” Mathias said. “But I didn't really think of it this year. It's a great honor and it means a lot to get this recognition.”

The player of the year award also recognizes academic success and character. Mathias has a 3.80 grade-point average.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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