With only one senior starter and two senior reserves, the South Fayette boys basketball team didn't enter the 2007-08 season with lowered expectations. The Lions believed they would be a playoff team, even with two freshman starters in the always rough-and-tumble world of WPIAL Class AA basketball.
The Lions were right. They were good. They were really good.
South Fayette won the Section 3-AA championship with a 13-1 record. It posted impressive non-section wins against Washington, Center and Serra Catholic (one of the favorites to win the PIAA Class A championship). The Lions barely lost at Class AA quarterfinalist North Catholic and among the other losses were games against Moon (a Class AAAA quarterfinalist) and an overtime defeat in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals against eventual champion Jeannette, which is still alive in the state playoffs.
South Fayette finished its season Wednesday with a tough 63-50 loss to Farrell in the second round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs. The Lions ended with a 21-7 record, all of its losses were to playoffs team.
Early in the fourth quarter, South Fayette was within three before Farrell pulled away.
"We had a lot of guys crying in that locker room. They wanted to win the game," South Fayette coach Rich Bonnaure said.
South Fayette should win a lot over the next few years. Freshman Mike Lamberti already ranks among the area's best players. Starters Pat Zedreck, Joe Silko and Mike Burroughs also return, as does top reserve Tyler Henry.
The Lions must find a replacement for center Zack Patterson, a Lafayette football recruit, who churned out double-doubles.
"I guess I'll say it for the first time," Bonnaure said. "We have a really bright future."