Montour Stuns South Fayette to Win WPIAL Boys AAA Championship

Friday, March 4, 2011 | 12:00 AM

They say that the third time is a charm. For Montour, the third battle against South Fayette turned out to be a golden charm. The Spartans stunned the basketball district with a 45-34 victory over the top-seed Lions to win the schools first ever boys basketball crown Friday night at Duquesne University's A.J. Palumbo Center.

South Fayette was a heavy favorite to win their first WPIAL boys basketball title by virtue of a 22-1 record and two wins over 7th-seed Montour by scores of 65-58 and 58-38.

But the game played into Montour's hands early, a low scoring physical battle even though South Fayette led after one quarter 11-7.

The game was tied 18-18 in the waning seconds of the half when the Spartans Kevin Scuilli hit a buzzer beating 3-pointer to end the half with underdog Montour leading 21-18. It was only a one possession deficit after two quarters, but that shot seemed to fill the Spartans with confidence while deflate the Lions headed into the locker room.

One of the numbers that stood out after two quarters was South Fayette's leading scorer, 6-6 senior Mike Lamberti, who average over 18 points per game, was held to only two points.

"We were able to keep him out of his comfort zone", said Montour coach Adam Kaufman. Lamberti scored 4 points in the third quarter and 7 in the final quarter to end up as the only Lions player to score in double digits with 13 points.

Montour led 29-24 after three quarters as both teams struggled on offense in the early stages of the fourth quarter.

The Spartans led 34-30 after Lamberti hit a 3-pointer with two minutes left. But South Fayette would get no closer. Aaron McGee and Devin Wilson hit two free throws each so that when Lamberti hit another three with 65 seconds left, pulling the Lions to within 38-33. Montour added 7 more points from the line while limiting SF to only one free throw in the final minute.

Montour's Kaufman thought playing South Fayette a third time helped their cause. "Absolutely, it was a very big advantage. We were able to see some tendencies and make some changes."

As the final score indicates, neither team lit it up from the field. Montour was 12 of 31 shooting while South Fayette was a tough 12 of 41 from the field.

The Lions fall to 22-2 and will try to regroup for another run to a PIAA basketball championship when they face the District 10 runner up on Friday, March 11th.

Montour begins state playoff action Friday as well when they face the third seed out of District 10. The Spartans celebrate WPIAL gold with a record of 19-7.

Montour Spartans : 7

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