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Shady Side hoops experiences success under 1st-year coach

| Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | The Herald
Shady Side Academy juinor Jackson Fitzgerald will be coming back for the team again next year.
Jan Pakler | The Herald
Shady Side Academy head coach David Vadneis led the team to the postseason in his first season at the helm.

The Shady Side Academy boys basketball team concluded its season with a 14-9 record.

And it was a year to remember for David Vadnais, the first-year coach of the Indians.

“I will always remember this season for the guys I was privileged enough to coach,” he said. “I walked onto a team with great senior leaders and younger players ready to step up and play on the varsity level.”

The Indians started the season on a roller coaster of ups-and-downs before embarking on a seven-game winning streak to end the campaign.

“We had a lot of great moments throughout the season,” Vadnais said.

“Beating South Allegheny at home really got us going the final third of the year. Our guys wanted that game to prove that we were a top team in our section. Winning at Serra Catholic was a great win as well. It was our first road win against a good team and it put us in the playoffs.”

For Vadnais, helping his players create memories was his reward.

“Beating Jeannette at home in overtime was a great game and one that our kids will always remember,” Vadnais said. “It was our last home game of the year and a win against a team that handled us the first time we played was very rewarding. Our two playoff games were memorable for different reasons. We handled Northgate and won a playoff game, which is always what we expect at Shady Side.

“The loss against Neshannock will not go away any time soon. Our guys played hard enough and well enough to win. I didn't do a good enough job during the fourth quarter to get us that win.”

Vadnais said he is excited about the future of the program as he sees a lot of potential.

“Going forward, we return a great group of guys,” Vadnais said. “Mike Ware will be the guy that everyone focuses on and they should. However, we will also have two other starters returning with Tyler Demchak and Jackson Fitzgerald, two very good guards that we trust on the floor at all times.

“We will also return a number of players that have played a number of varsity minutes or JV players that are ready to step up and be valuable members at the varsity.”

As a result, Vadnais said he believes that next-year's team will be as deep or deeper than this year's squad.

“My main concern at this time will be our ability to replace the senior leadership we had this year. They did a great job keeping our guys moving forward, working hard and keeping a positive attitude no matter our record.”

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-782-2123 or

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