Chartiers Valley boys basketball coach Tim McConnell doesn't just show his players film of their team or opponents. Chartiers Valley also has watched film of a college team this season.
McConnell has showed his squad game films of the University of Arizona's team and not just because McConnell's son, T.J., is a starting guard for the Wildcats. Tim McConnell hopes his players learn a thing or two about defense from watching Arizona. Tim McConnell is using Arizona for motivation.
Chartiers Valley plays Central Valley for the WPIAL Class AAA title tonight at Duquesne's Palumbo Center. Chartiers Valley doesn't have a starter taller than 6-1.
"Are we the best basketball players? No. But do we work hard? Absolutely," Tim McConnell said. "I had a college coach tell me he would love to bring his team to watch us play because he thinks we play harder than his team. I had another college coach text me the other night and say he thinks the [Chartiers Valley] Colts and North Carolina play the hardest.
"I said, 'You're going to put me in the category with North Carolina? I'm taking it.' But I'll tell you what, I want to be in the category with Arizona's defense because I think they play great defense. (above photo of Arizona from Associated Press). We use them as a measuring stick, just watching them play defense, how they hedge screens, how hard they play, how they play in gaps, how they don't give up easy baskets.
"I'll bring a tape of Arizona [to Chartiers Valley's players] and say 'Look at this. Look how they play. We have to play that way.'"
Chartiers Valley allows 50.2 points a game. But Central Valley knows a thing or two about defense also. Central Valley allows only 48.5 points.
"On Demand" for title games
There will be no live television for the WPIAL championships, but all eight games - boys and girls - will be on Xfinity (Comcast) "On Demand" starting Monday. The games can be found by going to the "Get Local" folder through "On Demand" and then going to "Sports," "HS Basketball," "WPIAL Finals."
Here are my picks for the WPIAL title games. In the semifinals, I was 6-2 in boys selections and 7-1 in girls.
BOYS - New Castle over Hampton ... Central Valley over Chartiers Valley ... Seton-LaSalle over Greensburg Central Catholic ... Lincoln Park over Monessen
GIRLS - Hempfield over Penn-Trafford ... Blackhawk over South Park ... Seton-LaSalle over Burrell ... Vincentian over Serra