Franklin Regional uses big run to secure playoff win over South Fayette

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019 | 10:12 PM


Franklin Regional used a strong third quarter, which included a 16-0 run that carried into the fourth quarter, and pulled away for a 46-35 victory Tuesday against South Fayette in the first round of the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs at Keystone Oaks.

It was the first playoff victory for the Panthers (17-6) since Feb. 15, 2013, when they defeated Albert Gallatin, 60-32, in a preliminary-round game.

Franklin Regional, the fifth seed, will play No. 4 seed Penn Hills on Saturday at a time and site to be determined.

The Panthers were clinging to a 24-23 midway through the third quarter when Cali Konek made a jumper. A minute later, she made a 3-pointer, and the Panthers got South Fayette out of its rhythm.

Courtney Giles, who scored all six of her points in the third quarter, made a basket, and Konek connected again to increase Franklin Regional’s lead to 33-23.

“Our defense picked things up in the third quarter, and Cali and Courtney started to hit,” Franklin Regional coach Anthony Kobus said. “We had a lot of girls step up.”

Konek, who picked up three fouls in the first quarter, finished with 10 points, and forward Alex Reitz had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Noelle Boyd chipped in with 10 points off the bench.

“I don’t keep track of my stats. It’s a team thing,” Reitz said. “We have great team chemistry. Cali hit those big shots, and Noelle did a great job. The entire team did a great job.”

With Konek on the bench for more than nine minutes in the first half, Franklin Regional managed to build a 20-13 lead.

South Fayette, however, finished the first half on a 6-0 run to close to within 20-19 at halftime.

After Franklin Regional built a 40-23 lead early in the fourth quarter, South Fayette (13-10) put together a final run. The Lions scored 10 straight points to trim the lead to 40-33 with 3 minutes, 41 seconds left.

But Reitz hit two free throws, and Boyd got loose for a layup to end South Fayette’s hopes.

“Making the playoffs is a big reward,” Boyd said. “The key in the third quarter was sticking together as a team and persevering. Getting Cali back on the court didn’t hurt either.”

Maura Castelluci led the Lions with 12 points.

Kobus said after a shaky start to the fourth quarter, the Panthers settled down and finished the game.

“We had lost a couple fourth quarter leads later,” Kobus said. “I’m just glad we finished this time.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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