South Fayette downed by Central Valley guard's big performance
South Fayette girls basketball coach Matt Bacco didn't shy away from complimenting Central Valley guard Madi Rowan after the Warriors defeated the Lions, 59-50, in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.
“She had one of the best individual performances I have ever seen – boy or girl,” Bacco said.
The senior point guard led her team with 33 points despite two South Fayette players defending her at times.
South Fayette led 12-10 after the first quarter but Rowan carried the Warriors to a big second frame, scoring 10 points to help Central Valley build a six-point lead.
“To hold them to only 10 points in the first quarter was really good for us,” Bacco said. “Despite the fact we missed a few layups and had some unforced turnovers, we didn't do too bad in the first half.”
Things seemed to swing in South Fayette's favor in the third quarter when Central Valley center Kiana Law – playing with three fouls – picked up a foul followed by a technical for slamming the ball on the court after the call. But the Lions had no answer for Rowan.
Her 11 third quarter points – and with two 3-pointers from Kayla Schwartz – helped Central Valley go up 47-35 entering the fourth quarter.
“We took a 32-31 lead after the technical and I guess Rowan took it on herself to get her team back in it,” Bacco said. “From that point on we were guarding her with two kids.”
South Fayette was able to rally with 3-pointers from Kristen Hardt, Caitlin McLuckie and Min Wells but the Warriors defense was able to hold on thanks to several key turnovers.
Hardt led South Fayette with 13 points.
The loss dropped the Lions to 15-8 on the season. While Bacco said it was a disappointing end to the year, he cannot be disappointed with the effort that his team put forth.
“If you told me at the beginning of the year we would suffer as many injuries as we did and we would still win 15 games, I wouldn't believe you,” Bacco said. “I thought we would win maybe 16 with a full roster. But to be able to win 15 games while missing Emily Anderson the last 12 games and missing Min Wells the first portion of the season was an accomplishment.”
South Fayette was able to build up some experience for future seasons. Sophomores Wells and Lauren Crites were starters and freshmen Anderson, Mikayla Fetchet and Autumn Mozick all contributed this season. And with a talented freshmen class coming in next season, Bacco feels his squad is headed toward some big things.
“We have six young players coming back who will be able to try and get us back to the postseason next season,” Bacco said. “We are definitely building next year and the year following to be one of the elite teams in the WPIAL.”
While the future is bright for the Lions, they will miss the hard work from the seniors from the 2012-13 squad. The six seniors on the roster helped compile a 66-32 record during their time with the squad while making the WPIAL playoffs each season and PIAA playoffs twice, including a spot in the quarterfinals in 2010.
“We're going to miss them,” Bacco said. “It is going to be hard to replace the work ethic the brought every night. I hope their influence has rubbed off on the younger kids. They are part of any success we have in the future.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.