WPIAL Girls Basketball Team of the Week: Week ending Feb. 15

Sunday, February 16, 2020 | 10:02 PM

With a Jan. 13 loss to defending WPIAL Class 2A champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the South Side girls basketball team dropped to 7-5 overall.

Then something kicked in and the team won nine of its next 11 games, including a Class 2A first-round playoff triumph.

“We really started playing as a team. We played a relatively close game against OLSH despite the turnovers,” South Side coach Dave Wilson said. “The kids really began believing that if we play together, we can play with the top-ranked 2A teams.”

Last week began with a regular season-ending loss to Beaver, the top-seeded team in Class 4A.

“We sort of have mixed emotions about playing the top seated 4A team right before playoffs,”

Wilson said. “We were a bit apprehensive since we don’t have much depth and were concerned about the physicality of a powerhouse like Beaver.”

The 51-25 loss to the Bobcats did not help the Rams as they struggled early in their playoff opener. South Side trailed Frazier by three points after one quarter, and the teams were tied 28-28 at halftime.

“Honestly, Frazier played a really good game against us,” Wilson said. “It’s always a concern of ours when our kids are off school on the day we play a game. That is not an excuse by any means. Although the game wasn’t what we envisioned, we got the playoff win and are looking forward to the next challenge.”

The Rams outscored the Commodores, 32-19, in the second half to win 61-47. Senior Sydney Payne led the way with 27 points.

“We certainly acknowledge Syd’s accomplishments this season and give her credit for sure,” Wilson said. “She’s a tremendous athlete.”

While Payne has been leader for the Rams all season, Wilson believes everybody working hard and doing her role has been the key to the success in a 16-7 season.

“I would say the key to the room success is everyone being excepting of their roles and playing together,” Wilson said. “We have really stepped up our pressure defense this year, individually and as a team. Our hope is that when someone watches us play, they see a team working hard and playing together.”

South Side will need to work together and play hard in the quarterfinals Thursday as it faces No. 4 seed and section rival Laurel for a third time this season.

The Rams lost at Laurel by 17 points in early January, then beat the Spartans, 46-41, on Jan. 30 at home.

Previous Trib HSSN Teams of the Week:

Week 8 – Penn Hills Indians

Week 7 – Carlynton Cougars

Week 6 – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chargers

Week 5 – Woodland Hills Wolverines

Week 4 – West Greene Pioneers

Week 3 – Southmoreland Scotties

Week 2 – Bethel Park Black Hawks

Week 1 – Hopewell Vikings


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