Shady Side Academy boys basketball needs to surge in 2nd half of schedule

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Saturday, January 18, 2020 | 12:14 AM


The Shady Side Academy boys basketball team is in need of a second-half surge in section play if it harbors any playoff hopes. As of Jan. 16, the Indians were 5-7 overall and 2-4 in the section.

“If we are going to make the playoffs, we need to be better on the offensive end of the floor,” SSA coach David Vadnais said. “We have improved greatly, but recent losses have been because of our inability to consistently score. There has been improvement recently in our ability to take high-percentage shots within the offense. ”

Grady Munroe, a 6-foot-2 senior guard/forward, leads the team in scoring at 18.6 points per game.

On the positive side, Vadnais likes his team’s effort.

“The guys never give up and give 100% every night,” he said. “Also, our defense has stood out. In the majority of our games, we have done a good job of making it hard for our opponents to get in a rhythm.”

Another positive has been the play of 5-11 senior guard John Salvitti.

“He did not play last year so that he could focus on baseball. His return to the basketball team has helped us greatly. I appreciate his attitude and effort.”

The Indians also have gotten contributions from a trio of newcomers: sophomores Rian Fitzgerald and Thompson Lau and freshman Ethan Salvia.

“Rian has started the majority of games this year,” Vadnais said. “He gives us a little bit of everything. He can score, rebound and guard at multiple positions. Thompson has continued to improve throughout the year. He has stood out on defense but has also improved on offense as he continues to gain confidence.

“Ethan really stood out in preseason. He is an excellent passer and finisher in the paint at a high level. He’s improved on both ends of the floor as he has gained experience at the varsity level.”

Vadnais is hoping a combination of the senior leadership provided by Munroe and fellow senior starters Brice Delaney and Mason Tomlin and the improvement of the underclassmen will lead to a playoff berth.

“We’re heading into the stretch run virtually injury-free and at full strength,” he said. “It looks like South Alegheny will be the team to beat. Aside from that, the section is fairly even. The final couple of weeks should be entertaining for fans and stressful for the coaches.”

As of Jan. 16, South Allegheny was 6-0 in Section 3-3A followed by Steel Valley at 4-2, Deer Lakes at 4-3 and Valley and East Allegheny owning 3-4 records.

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