Like many coaches say — once the playoffs start, everybody is coming in with an 0-0 record.
Shady Side Academy proved the adage true on Saturday as they knocked off a Deer Lakes team that had claimed its first section title in 20 years.
The Lancers came into the WPIAL Class AA preliminary-round playoff game with a 16-6 mark while the Indians were 8-14.
Perhaps playing in a section that included Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette and Serra Catholic helped the Indians' cause.
“Our section is a very tough one and we were in a battle for the last playoff spot,” SSA coach Gene Deal said. “Every game was must-win toward the end of the season and we've been playing well.”
The Indians jumped out to a 22-16 halftime lead but the Lancers outscored SSA by 21-12 to take a 37-34 lead entering the final quarter.
SSA's Dan Marous sank a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left to give the Indians a 48-45 lead and Deer Lakes couldn't score after that. Marous scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter while Aaron Thorne had a big second half as he scored 11 of his 13 points after intermission.
“He played a great game for us,” Deal said.
The Indians faced Brentwood (13-9) on Wednesday in a game that ended too late for this edition.
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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