Elizabeth Forward ousts South Fayette in WPIAL Class AAA playoffs
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It won't be one-and-done for the Elizabeth Forward boys basketball team this season.
Austin Matta scored 12 points, and George Prota added 10 as the fourth-seeded Warriors sneaked past No. 13 South Fayette, 47-40, in a WPIAL Class AAA first-round game Tuesday at Canon-McMillan.
Elizabeth Forward moved into the quarterfinals, avenging a preliminary-round loss to Indiana a season ago.
“This is what we've been working all year, but it's only part of the goal,” said Prota, who transferred from Serra Catholic prior to this season. “Still, it feels fantastic.”
The Warriors will play No. 5 Uniontown on Friday at a site and time to be determined.
Prota pulled down 10 rebounds. JaQuaun Davidson added nine points and Matt Bernadowski eight, but Elizabeth Forward (20-3) made just 4 of 14 free throws.
Nick McKee led South Fayette (13-10) with 12 points. Jack Relihan had 10.
Matta pushed Elizabeth Forward in front for the first time since early in the opening quarter with three 3-pointers early in the third, the final one with him tumbling to the ground at 4:24.
The Warriors outscored South Fayette, 17-10, in the third quarter to take a 36-35 lead entering the fourth.
“I could tell in warmups,” Matta said. “I felt comfortable. I had confidence. Obviously, I was correct.”
Prota made a basket inside, Bernadowski hit a turnaround jumper, and Jasano Brooks (seven points) scored on a putback to give Elizabeth Forward a 42-35 lead at 5:15 of the final period.
South Fayette got no closer than four the rest of the way.
While Elizabeth Forward did not have to play in the preliminary round, South Fayette was coming off a 54-42 victory over Greensburg Salem, getting a game-high 16 points from McKee.
It was a welcome change for South Fayette, which closed the regular season, losing four of five.
Elizabeth Forward, meanwhile, closed the season by winning five straight, though that came after a 65-63 loss at Thomas Jefferson that gave the Jaguars the Section 4-AAA title.
The Warriors had been haunted by a preliminary-round loss to Indiana a season ago and stalling out the previous year in the first round.
South Fayette closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run and had a 17-10 lead after one.
Watson hit two free throws to start the spurt, then flipped in a layup. McKee drilled an NBA-range 3-pointer with 1 second left for the final margin.
The prettiest play, however, may have been Watson's give-and-go feed to Brett Brumbaugh inside.
“They're hard to play against,” Warriors coach Gerald Grayson said of South Fayette. “They run their offense well.”
Elizabeth Forward got baskets from Prota, Bernadowski and Davidson to make it 17-16 early in the second before South Fayette responded.
Jack Relihan's 3-pointer from the left wing gave South Fayette a 22-19 lead at 2:56, and his 3 from the right wing 2 seconds before halftime made it 25-19.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.