Bethel Park wins its first-ever WPIAL girls championship against Chartiers Valley, 48-34

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Bethel Park and Chartiers Valley excelled during the regular season through sound and suffocating defense, something that also helped carry the teams through the WPIAL girls' playoffs.

With the two meeting in the Class AAAA championship, it would only make sense that defense, as it had been all season, would be the deciding factor.

In a game largely bereft of scoring, it was the Black Hawks that got just enough offense to make program history.

Bethel Park 48, Chartiers Valley 34

Bethel Park takes on Chartiers Valley in high school basketball action. (Video by Justin K. Aller; 3/2/2013)

Behind a game-high 15 points from point guard Mariah Penascino, all of which came in the second half, Bethel Park defeated Chartiers Valley, 48-34, giving the school its first-ever WPIAL girls' basketball championship.

The game's early moments did not look indicative of what would become a low-scoring affair.

As the "212" degrees inscribed on the back of their warm-ups indicated, the Black Hawks (23-3) were able to get off to a hot start, making nine of their first 21 shots to take a 12-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

However, the Bethel Park offense simmered in the second quarter, scoring just six points in the eight-minute period, but it was still able to take an 18-11 lead at halftime.

After Bethel Park extended its lead to nine at the end of the third quarter, the teams combined to score 41 points in the fourth quarter. Heading into the game's final period, the teams were on pace to record the fewest combined points in a WPIAL girls' Class AAAA championship game, a mark set in 2004 when New Castle beat Oakland Catholic, 36-32.

Guard Harper Zimmer scored 11 points for Bethel Park, and guard Megan Marecic, the team's leading scorer at 15.5 points per game in the regular season, added seven points and 11 rebounds. Guard Jenna Devinney led the Colts (19-7) with nine points, making three of her five 3-point attempts.

Both teams will continue their seasons in the Class AAAA PIAA championships, which begin Friday.

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