Most know that Megan McConnell has two famous brothers. T.J. who plays in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers and Matty just completed a stellar career at Robert Morris University.
What many don’t realize is that the sole female sibling in the family does have a plethora of sisters. Her teammates on the Chartiers Valley girls’ basketball team.
“We are all family,” she said. “We are all sisters.”
Tim McConnell, who happens to be Megan’s father as well as coach, agreed.
“No doubt about it they are sisters to her,” he said.
“I told these girls early on that if anything would happen to them and they needed me to adopt any of them I would in a heartbeat. I would welcome them into my house.”
Megan remembered that statement made at the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign that resulted in a championship season.
“My dad always said, if they ever need a place to stay they can always sleep with me of course but we have a guest bedroom,” she added.
“We really are all so close. We tell each other everything and we always have each other’s back,” Megan continued. “I think that is why we play so well together out there on the court because we trust each other. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to play with.”
Mackenzie Wagner had to be the big sister of the group. The senior captain led the team with a 16.6 scoring average. She also managed 5.7 rebounds a game.
During the PIAA Class 6A championship game played March 23 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Wagner fired in a game-high 24 points as the Lady Colts knocked off Archbishop Carroll, 53-40, to capture the program’s first state title. Wagner also dished up two assists, stole a pass and grabbed four rebounds. She converted 8 of 10 shots from the field, including a 2-for-3 showing from 3-point range, and made 6 of 8 free throws.
“My senior year ending as a state champion is utterly amazing. The best feeling ever,” Wagner said. “This has been one of the best experiences for me ever.”
Not only did the Colts experience a state championship, they did so in perfect fashion. They won the section and they won the district without a defeat. After their PIAA run, they finished 30-0.
“It wasn’t just one person,” Wagner said. “I feel like we worked really hard and together. We had confidence in everyone’s abilities.”
The Colts certainly believed in Aislin Malcolm. As a freshman, she’s the baby sister. She produced six points and six assists in the championship. Throughout the season, she provided 11.6 points per game to go along with 3.6 rebounds and nearly two assists.
“Having a freshman start was so different for us because we are all upperclassmen,” Wagner said, “but Aislin really stepped up.”
After the tipoff, Malcolm settled into her role. She admitted that she was nervous on the big stage but then again “I am always nervous before every game,” she said. “After that ball goes up, I am fine.”
Malcolm says she can play relaxed because of her teammates.
“The upperclassmen are like my best friends. They are like my sisters. I love them. We are so close. We hang out and do everything together.”
Not only are the starting five, which included seniors Alexandra Ferrella and Gabi Legister, who scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the state final, close they include the rest of their teammates in their circle of activities. Carleea Webb, Helene Cowan, Caleigh Bogats, Hallie Cowan, Perry Page, Mariah Demus, Abby Vaites and Melina Little played vital roles in maintaining the cohesion on the team.
That is one reason why Wagner is going to miss that feeling of belonging once she graduates and matriculates to Loyola University, Maryland. She will play basketball for the Greyhounds.
“Most definitely,” she said, “it is going to be really hard to leave my teammates. We are all like sisters.”