South Fayette tops Cathedral Prep on Maddie Webber buzzer-beating 3

Saturday, March 18, 2023 | 7:48 PM

SHARON – Cathedral Prep shut down the play South Fayette drew up in a timeout with just a few seconds left in the game.

Villanova recruit Maddie Webber knew exactly what to do.

Webber popped out to the top of the key, took one dribble to set her feet and launched an NBA-range 3-pointer over several defenders at the buzzer.

Before she realized the shot went in, the Lions were off the bench mobbing her as South Fayette rallied for a thrilling 40-37 win over Cathedral Prep in the PIAA Class 5A girls basketball quarterfinals Saturday at Sharon High School.

“Honestly, the play we wanted didn’t happen, so I thought to pop out and get open for a 3,” Webber said. “I had hit a few and air-balled one, but I have full confidence in myself to hit that shot. I was talking with my dad, and he said it’ll all come when it matters and that was (Saturday).”

The Lions (27-2) move on to the PIAA semifinals Tuesday with a WPIAL finals rematch against Oakland Catholic with a trip to Hershey on the line.

Cathedral Prep (23-2) raced out to a 12-6 lead in the first quarter and led throughout most of the game due to the inside play of Addie Biel, a 6-foot 2 sophomore, who had 11 points. The Ramblers put her at the free-throw line to draw out the size of South Fayette and try to open up some driving lanes.

The Lion defense, however, started digging in during the second half.

After Biel scored with less than three minutes left in the third quarter, South Fayette didn’t allow another field goal the rest of the game. Prep scored eight points in the fourth on free throws as the Lions started matching the physical play of the Ramblers.

“That was one of the most physical teams we’ve seen this year, if not the most physical,” said South Fayette coach Bryan Bennett. “The girls didn’t hang their heads at halftime and they could play better. I think we weren’t playing our basketball and that was due to Prep’s physicality.”

The Ramblers led by as much as 12 points in the third quarter before the Lions started chipping away.

The Lions started running a motion play that led to several easy buckets and Webber hit a long 3-pointer.

Rachel Black scored to cut the Prep lead to 36-35 with two minutes left before a Prep free throw made it 37-35. Juliette Leroux was fouled with 1 minute, 3 seconds left and made both free throws to tie the game at 37.

Prep, which missed four free throws in the fourth quarter, missed two more and South Fayette ran the clock down to 14.3 seconds before calling a timeout.

The Lions decided to go with the motion play with a cutting player to the basket off a screen that worked in the second half, but Gannon recruit Tori Mayes recognized it and cut off the lane. Mayes then chased Black to make her give up the ball and the rest is history.

“The play was for Ava to get a layup, but it got cut off,” Webber said. “I wasn’t sure how much time was left when I got it, but everyone was screaming to shoot. There were three defenders there, so I had to back up and make sure I got it off.”

Erica Hall led the Lions with 14 points, while Webber had 12 and Ava Leroux scored seven. Lena Walz led Prep with 13 points.

“Maddie is a talented and smart kid and there’s a reason she has multiple Division I offers,” Bennett said. “She works on all parts of her game at all times. I’m proud of the team as well as this is just the second time in school history we’ve gone this far. I know these girls have big goals of winning it all, but we have a tough matchup on Tuesday and we’ll have our hands full.”


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