Shady Side Academy betters Apollo-Ridge for 3rd time this season

Thursday, March 4, 2021 | 8:33 PM

After a pair of regular-season losses to Section 3-3A rival Shady Side Academy, the Apollo-Ridge boys basketball team hoped the third meeting would be the charm Thursday in a WPIAL first-round game at Fox Chapel.

But the No. 3 Bulldogs (14-2) didn’t let the 14th-seeded Vikings taste postseason victory at their expense.

Alex Kramer came off the bench to score 12 points and add 10 rebounds, and Thompson Lau and Eli Teslovich added 11 and 10 points, respectively, in Shady Side Academy’s 55-46 victory.

“(Apollo-Ridge) is really good. Their top three can play,” said Shady Side Academy coach David Vadnais, referring to the Vikings senior trio of Jake Fello, Keighton Reese and Klay Fitzroy.

“We wanted to make it our whole team against their three, not a half-court three-on-three game where their top three can probably beat anyone else’s top three. We knew we needed to rely on our whole team at both ends of the court. We played with tempo the whole game, and we had to trust that their legs would go eventually and our depth would win out. You look at an Alex Kramer with 12 points and the rebounds he gave us off the bench. That’s what we do. Different nights, different guys can lead us. That’s what makes us tough to go against.”

The Bulldogs will meet No. 11 Ellwood City in Monday’s quarterfinals.

In addition to Shady Side Academy’s three-double figure scorers, Peter Kramer had nine points and seven rebounds, and Rich Fitzgerald contributed eight points to the balanced effort.

Apollo-Ridge, which finished 10-6, again was led Fello, Fitzroy and Reese.

They scored all of the Vikings’ points. Fello had 13 at halftime and finished with a team-best 19. Fitzroy tallied all 15 of his points in the second half, and Reese scored 12.

“I thought we had some good looks in the first half, but we just couldn’t capitalize,” Apollo-Ridge coach Greg Fox said.

“They used their depth. Give them credit. They full-court pressed us, trying to wear us down a little bit. They went, I don’t know, seven, eight, nine deep. We can’t match that. They are pretty sound defensively.”

Apollo-Ridge trailed 25-21 at halftime, and a jumper from Fitroy early in the third cut the deficit to two.

But the Vikings were not able to tie the score.

Shady Side Academy followed with a 10-1 run and led 35-24 with 3 minutes, 11 seconds left in the third.

Apollo-Ridge got as close as seven late on a Fitzroy layup with 44 seconds remaining.

“The way this season started, we’re just blessed to get a season in,” Fox said. “We’re fortunate to play the games that we did and play as long as we did.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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