Girls Basketball: Bethel Park enjoyed solid season

Written by Joe Koch on .

It's never enjoyable to see a season come to a conclusion unless you are one of the eight teams hoisting a championship trophy and cutting down the nets in Hershey's Giant Center.

Still, the just-completed season was a solid one for the Bethel Park Black Hawks, who finished with an overall record of 21-6 following a 54-46 loss this past Tuesday to WPIAL Class AAAA champion and state semifinalist Norwin at Plum.

Against Section 4-AAAA rivals, Bethel Park finished with a 12-2 record. This was the most-balanced Class AAAA section in the WPIAL with four teams sporting above .500 records and a fifth team -- Canon-McMillan -- finishing with a break-even record of 7-7.

Bethel Park was 3-4 after seven games. But coach Jonna Burke's team won 17 games in a row. It was a streak that stretched over three months, and it included victories over Mt. Lebanon, Canon-McMillan, twice against Baldwin and tournament victories over Hempfield and Pine-Richland.


Girls Basketball: Bethel Park's run halted

Written by John D'Abruzzo on .

John D'Abruzzo profiles the Bethel Park girls basketball team.

"If there was a turning point this season for Bethel Park's girls basketball team, Shannon Conely believes it happened just days before Christmas.

Soon after losing a two-point, overtime decision on Dec. 23 against Mt. Lebanon, Conely recalled how the Black Hawks quickly bounced back.

"That's when we came together as a team," said Conely, a 5-foot-10 junior guard. "Everyone realized that we needed to come together and start playing better as a team. Then we got on that winning streak and everyone was getting along and we were playing well together."

Bethel Park went on a 17-game winning streak before losing to Penn Hills in the WPIAL's Class AAAA semifinals. The Black Hawks (20-6) then advanced to the opening-round of the PIAA Class AAAA bracket last Saturday and knocked off District 6 champion Altoona, 66-55."



Boys Basketball: Bethel Park coach steps down

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White reports that Bethel Park boys basketball coach Ben O'Connor has resigned.

"Ben O'Connor still plans to coach.

"But it will just be on Little League fields, elementary school gyms and flag football," O'Connor said with a laugh.

O'Connor resigned Thursday as boys basketball coach at Bethel Park High School. He spent six seasons at Bethel Park and was successful, averaging 16 wins the past four years and making the playoffs four times. His reason for stepping down was his family. O'Connor, 38, and his wife, Aimee, have children ages 4, 5 and 7. His father also has battled health issues.

"I want to be involved with my kids and I want to coach things they're involved in," O'Connor said. "With my kids growing and my dad's health, I said 'OK, if you make a mistake by not coaching, but you're a better dad and son, that's OK.' But if you make a mistake by coaching, then that's not good.""



Girls Basketball: Bethel Park draws WPIAL champs in second round

Written by Joe Koch on .

Winning the WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball championship is such a significant accomplishment for teams in Western Pennsylvania. So, when a WPIAL team gets the opportunity to meet the champion in the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs, there is plenty of incentive for both teams. That's the scenario when Bethel Park meets Norwin in a second-round PIAA Class AAAA girls tournament game at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Plum High School.

The game is the first of a doubleheader. In the 7:30 p.m. nightcap, WPIAL Class AAAA runner-up Penn Hills meets North Allegheny.

Bethel Park improved to 21-5 with a 66-55 victory over District 6 champion Altoona this past Friday at Hollidaysburg.

The Black Hawks raced to a 30-17 halftime lead over Altoona, and then basically played even with the Mountain Lions in the second half. Shannon Conely scored 23 points for Bethel Park.


Boys Basketball: South Feature Athlete - Bethel Park's Joe Mascaro

Written by Brad Everett on .

Name: Joe Mascaro
School: Bethel Park
Grade: 12
Sport: Boys Basketball
Position: Guard

Background: Mascaro scored 23 points in Bethel Park's 65-63 loss against North Allegheny in a WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal Monday at North Hills. Mascaro, a senior point guard, was outstanding, particularly in the fourth quarter when he scored 11 points and hit a 3-pointer with 1:12 left to forge a 63-63 tie. Mascaro finished 8 of 16 from the field with two 3-pointers and 5 of 7 from the free throw line. Mascaro leads Bethel Park in scoring with 17.6 points per game. The Black Hawks (16-8) play Hempfield (20-3) in a PIAA play-in game tonight at North Hills.