South Fayette dethrones No. 1 Chartiers Valley in WPIAL Class 5A girls basketball

Saturday, March 5, 2022 | 6:35 PM

Maddie Webber sensed early on that the third meeting between South Fayette and Chartiers Valley this season was going to be different.

“I knew in the first quarter,” she said. “We were all attacking. Ava (Leroux) was getting rebounds, we pushed the ball on offense, we were all finishing, and we were up. (Chartiers Valley) is usually up early. Then we pushed for four quarters.”

The Lions dealt the first blow and never let up, eventually knocking out the heavyweight of WPIAL Class 5A girls basketball.

Maddie Webber scored 17 points to lead a balanced attack and South Fayette dethroned the three-time defending champion Colts, 57-48, in the Class 5A final Saturday at Petersen Events Center.

“In the beginning of the season, we weren’t looked at as a threat to anyone,” Maddie Webber said. “Being the underdog helped us win and it makes it 10 times better.”

The Lions (22-4) led early in a back-and-forth first quarter but pulled away over the second and third, outscoring the Colts 32-20 over those frames to build a double-digit lead. It was the first loss against a WPIAL opponent for the Colts (24-2) this season.

“I’m so proud of these kids because they came out and they were the aggressor tonight,” South Fayette coach Bryan Bennett said. “Typically Chartiers Valley jumps on you early and tries to get you down and we did the opposite tonight.”

Leading up to the game, Bennett told his team that if they put together four quarters, they showed they can beat Chartiers Valley. They were close in two regular season meetings during Section 1-5A play, falling 55-51 and 54-49. Lapses in those games ended up costing the Lions, but there weren’t any Saturday.

South Fayette had four players in double figures, including 11 from Leroux and 10 apiece by Erica Hall and Lainey Yater. Mia Webber, the lone senior in the starting lineup, scored nine.

“They played harder than us and wanted it more than us,” Chartiers Valley coach Tim McConnell said. “They out-rebounded us. They out-hustled us and deserved to win. We just got beat tonight. They got a lead and held the ball and played real patiently. That’s the exact reason why high school basketball needs a shot clock. It would make people play and not hold the ball all the time.”

Perri Page had 27 points for the Colts and Aislin Malcolm scored 15.

The Colts got within six points in the fourth and started fouling with three and half minutes remaining to extend the game, but the Lions were 12 of 18 from the line in the final frame.

Bennett said his team worked a lot on foul shooting in the second half of the season after shooting 30% from the line in a loss to Moon.

“With three and a half minutes remaining, I told my assistant and said that we’ve got to make shots now, and they did,” Bennett said. “They went to the line with confidence and helped us keep that lead.”

The Lions and Colts will continue into the state tournament next week.

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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