Montour silences top-seeded South Fayette
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Montour's Devin Wilson understands how awful it feels to be the top seed, heavily favored and then toppled in the championship by a team few gave a chance.
This time, he and his Spartans were doing the pushing.
"They're feeling sick," said Wilson, who scored 10 points, including six in the fourth quarter of Friday night's 45-34 victory over South Fayette in the WPIAL Class AAA championship game at Palumbo Center.
South Fayette (22-2) was the No. 1 seed. Montour (19-7) was No. 7.
"Now, they're feeling what we felt during football season," Wilson said.
Wilson, along with fellow starters Dillon Buechel, Aaron McGee and Austin Heter, all were starters for the Spartans' football team that was undefeated and seeded No. 1 before being upset by Central Valley in the WPIAL Class AAA football championship.
"After losing in football, this really lifts all of the pressure off of your shoulders," Wilson said.
Mike Lamberti had a first half to forget. South Fayette's 6-foot-6 star made just one of seven shots — a layup with 2:40 left in the second quarter. His second half was better, and he finished with 14 points.
"It was definitely rough the way that started," Lamberti said. "There's a lot of pressure on my shoulders right now. I feel like I let my team down a lot."
Lamberti's fourth-quarter 3-pointers gave them an opportunity. With two minutes left, a 3-pointer by Lamberti pulled South Fayette within four points. As Montour's lead grew, another with 1:05 left cut the lead back to five.
But Montour made its free throws in the fourth quarter. Wilson made 6 of 8, Buechel made 4 of 4, McGee made 2 of 2, and Heter made 4 of 6, giving him 11 points. Montour scored all 16 of its fourth-quarter points from the free-throw line.
The WPIAL basketball title was the first for Montour.
"It feels amazing," Heter said. "We came up short in football, but we made it here again, and this time, we nailed it. It feels awesome."
The teams played twice in the regular season, and South Fayette won both — 65-58 and 58-38 — giving the Lions the Section 5 title. This was South Fayette's first season in Class AAA, up from Class AA, where it won the state title in 2010.
"Give all the credit to them," South Fayette coach Rich Bonnaure said. "They did a few more things than we did tonight that champions do."
South Fayette faced foul trouble in the fourth quarter. Christian Brumbaugh drew his fourth foul with 7:33 left, and Pat Zedreck earned his fourth less than 30 seconds later. Brumbaugh fouled out with 1:16 left and only two points.
Zedreck, guarded tightly by Wilson, finished with just nine points.
"To me, (Zedreck's) the one who makes them go," Montour coach Adam Kaufman said. "He gets in the lane and finds guys. He was the main guy we had to stop."
South Fayette walked to the locker room trailing, 21-18, after Montour's Kevin Sciulli made an awkward-looking, banked 3-pointer as the second quarter expired — his third 3-pointer of the quarter.
After that shot, Montour never trailed. The Spartans led, 29-24, after three quarters. That lead grew steadily in the fourth and reached 10 when Buechel made two free throws with 29 seconds left.
"When Kevin Sciulli hit that banked-in 3-pointer, I thought we were destined to win," Wilson said. "We had to win after that shot."
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