The Chartiers Valley girls basketball team advanced to the PIAA Class 5A championship for the second time in three years by defeating Warren 61-38 and Spring Grove 50-33.
The Colts (25-3) were scheduled to face Cardinal O’Hara (14-4) in the state championship game March 27 at the Giant Center in Hershey. The game did not end in time to be included in this edition.
CV, which is in the midst of an 11-game winning streak, suffered its last loss against Class 6A Oakland Catholic Feb. 17. The Colts’ streak includes a 62-40 triumph against Trinity for their third consecutive WPIAL championship.
“I like how we are playing,” said CV head coach Tim McConnell. “I like how we played against Trinity. That was our one complete game all year.
“I like how we share the ball. Everyone is contributing.”
Perri Page influenced both state playoff outcomes. After her 18-point, 14-rebound effort in the WPIAL title tilt, the Columbia commit pulled off two more double-doubles.
Against Warren, Page gathered in 14 boards to go along with a team-high 19 points.
Against Spring Grove, she led the way with 15 points, 14 rebounds and several blocked shots. Defensively, she limited Spring Grove’s Laila Campbell to five points. The 6-0 freshman had scored 33 points in the Rockets’ quarterfinal win over Hollidaysburg.
“Perri did a great job,” McConnell said. “That is the way she has been playing the last half of the season. She has really been stepping up. She’s going to be a guard in college, but she’s sacrificing her outside game to help this team and give us an inside presence. Her athleticism and size inside presents mismatches and opens the outside for us.”
After the Colts connected on only 9 of 32 shots and committed eight turnovers in the opening 16 minutes against Spring Grove in the PIAA semifinal, Aislin Malcolm found her groove.
Back-to-back 3-point field goals from Malcolm and Abby Vaites ignited a rally that saw the Colts stretch a 22-16 halftime advantage into a commanding 44-28 lead by the third-quarter’s end.
A Pitt commit, Malcolm scored all 12 off her points in the eight-minute stretch. The junior owns a 17.9-point scoring average.
Against Warren, Malcolm finished with 11 points, but picked up a handful of assists.
“Aislin passes with the best of them,” McConnell said. “Everyone is unselfish on this team.”
Hallie Cowan is a great shooter for the Colts. She had 15 points against Warren.
Her twin sister, Helene, however, picked up the scoring mantle against Spring Grove. She fired in 12 points.
Helene Cowan factored greatly in the quarterfinal victory against Warren. The junior pitched in six points, but dominated on defense as the Colts held the Dragons to 13 second-half points.
Helene Cowan also moved to the point position to run the offense when junior Marian Turnbull was ruled ineligible for the postseason because of the PIAA transfer rule.
“Helene is our unsung hero. There are a lot of times she doesn’t get the credit,” McConnell said. “She keeps balls alive. She defends their best player. She runs the point for us now. I give her a lot of credit for the way our team is playing.”
Vaites provided three treys for the Colts and finished with nine points against Spring Grove. Her 3-pointer helped CV stake an 11-3 lead after the first quarter.
The Colts finished 21 of 53 from the field against Spring Grove. The Rockets fared no better, converting 12 of 37 of their attempts.
Ella Kale led Spring Grove with 11 points. She was the lone senior in the Rockets’ starting line-up.
The Colts won the 2019 PIAA title and finished 30-0. They were 27-0 and had reached the PIAA quarterfinals a year ago but the state tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.