WPIAL playoffs the goal for Shady Side Academy boys basketball

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Saturday, November 23, 2019 | 9:01 AM


The Shady Side Academy boys basketball team finished last season with a 9-12 record and lost to Lincoln Park in the first round of the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs.

Despite losing four players to graduation, coach David Vadnais believes the Indians have a good shot at returning to the postseason.

He will have returning starters in seniors 6-foot-2 guard/forward Grady Munroe and 5-10 guard Mason Tomlin. Munroe averaged 11 points, and Tomlin averaged five points and four assists. Returning letterwinners are seniors Brice Delaney (6-3, forward) and Thomas Muse, a 6-5 center.

“Munroe, Tomlin and Delaney all return with experience,” Vadnais said. “All three play key positions for us. Mason is at point guard. Grady is our main scorer, and Brice is an athlete who is a do-everything-type player. I believe they are ready to lead the team. Although we have a number of newcomers, we still have a veteran group. Many of our older guys have experience playing at the varsity level. It just so happens to be in different sports. I’m confident in their ability to step in and play. We need to take advantage of our length and depth this year to be at our best.”

Promising newcomers include senior guards Eddie Faulkner and Austin White, juniors Josh Castro, Cayden Leavy, Hugh Cochran and Jack Thornton and sophomore Ryan Fitzgerald.

Vadnais has concern over how the pieces will fit.

“Although I’m confident with new guys stepping in and playing, there will be a transition period of figuring out roles and what exactly will work best for us on both ends of the floor,” he said. “We have struggled to score the past couple of years, so that will be a concern until we prove otherwise.”

The Indians again will compete in Section 3-AAA.

“Often times, our section is not considered one of the better 3A sections because we do not have a team in the section that is perceived as one of the top teams,” Vadnais said. “I believe we are as deep as any section and have some really good teams this year. Making the playoffs will be a challenge.”

Other teams in the section are Burrell, Deer Lakes, East Allegheny, South Allegheny, Steel Valley and Valley.

As for the top teams in the section, Vadnais is unsure how it will play out.

“This is really hard for me to gauge. I think Steel Valley and South Allegheny will have the top two players in the section. They will be difficult to compete with,” he said.

“East Allegheny returns the majority of their team, and I have a feeling they will be much improved this year. They have an excellent coach. Along with us, Valley, Burrell and Deer Lakes lost a lot of starters but still have solid pieces to build around to be successful. It should be an entertaining section.”

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