Megan McConnell

Megan McConnell drives to the basket against Thomas Jefferson. McConnell scored 10 points as Chartiers Valley dispatched the Jaguars for the fourth time this season and advanced to the PIAA state finals for the first time in program history.

Chartiers Valley (29-0) found itself in a similar position as Peters Township (29-0). 

By virtue of their 50-44 victory over Thomas Jefferson on March 19, the Lady Colts would also put their undefeated season on the line when they battled Archbishop Carroll for the PIAA Class 5A girls' basketball title.

(The results of the game played at 6 p.m. March 23 at the Giant Center in Hershey were too late for publication in this week's Almanac.)

By virtue of their 51-46 triumph against Upper Dublin (25-5), the Lady Indians challenged Garnet Valley (29-1) for the Class 6A title on March 22 also at the Giant Center. 

Advancing to the finals was unchartered territory for both squads. In fact, the last time PT appeared in a Final Four was in 1994.

"We’re trying to go and do something the school’s never done in girls' or boys' basketball," said Tim McConnell, who has more than 500 wins, six WPIAL titles and two previous PIAA final appearances on his coaching resume, which includes 25 years with the boys. "They’ve never won a state championship.”

"We hadn't talked about Hershey," added PT floor boss Bert Kendall. "But, this is exciting for our community and our school. We have worked hard every year and to be at this doorstep means a lot. These kids have earned everything they’ve gotten.”

PT earned its win against Upper Dublin at the foul line. Journey Thompson made a clutch free throw to push the game into overtime while Isabella Mills and Makenna Marisa were 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.

Marisa managed 14 points, 10 in the final 12 minute of action. She was 8 of 8 from the line. Thompson and Mills each tallied 12 points in the win against the Cardinals.

The Indians received a big lift from Avana Sayles. The freshman spelled Thompson, when she ran into foul trouble, picking up six points and pulling down six rebounds.

Meanwhile, CV faced a familiar foe in its Final Four battle, played ironically at Peters Township. In fact, three of CV's state tournament games and wins have been posted in Indian territory.

For the fourth time this season, the Colts dispatched the Jaguars. In addition to two section wins, CV defeated TJ for the WPIAL District 7 crown.

Freshman Aislin Malcolm fired in a game-high 12 point. Mackenzie Wagner tallied 10 points.

McConnell, the coach's daughter, chipped in with 10 points, too. However, the junior also dished up six assists and grabbed seven rebounds.

Gabby Legister and Perri Carlisle-Page each contributed eight points.

Though they scored 9 of the last 12 points to take a 16-10 lead in the first frame, TJ forged ahead, 24-23, before Legister's layup gave the Colts the lead for good, 25-24, with 30 seconds remaining in the first half. At the end of the third quarter, CV led, 35-31, thanks to McConnell's 3-point play.

For the Jaguars, Shaylor Williams and Jenna Clark finished with 11 points. Alyssa DeAngelo chipped in with seven before fouling out of the game.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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