With a little less than three minutes remaining in South Fayette's first-round playoff win over New Brighton Wednesday night, the starting five from Wash High descended down the bleachers on the New Brighton side of North Allegheny High School's gymnasium.
A large contingent of South Fayette students, dressed in white, spotted the Prexies players and busted into a chant.
"We want Wash High."
Washington senior Mark Wise and sophomore Zach Barnes smiled and waved to the Lions' student section. Rest assured South Fayette, Wash High wants South Fayette too.
Welcome to the best basketball rivalry in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania.
South Fayette (20-3), winners of 17 straight and the No. 4 seed in the WPIAL Class AA boys basketball playoffs, gets No. 5 seed Wash High (21-2) in the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Baldwin High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Don't be surprised if it ends up being the best game in a loaded Class AA bracket.
"I can't wait," South Fayette senior guard Joe Silko said Wednesday. "We have a lot of respect for Wash High. We play those guys probably eight times every summer. We know each other real well."
Wash High, which allows just 38.3 points per game, hosted South Fayette on Dec. 9 and won, 62-53. The two meet every year in a non-section game that usually plays out like it's for a section championship.
"We feel like we owe them one," Silko said.
In the first meeting, Prexies senior Nick Bryant had a big game and is coming off a 27-point performance during a first-round victory over West Shamokin.
"It's a great game every time we play," Bryant said after Tuesday night's win, and expecting that the Lions would beat New Brighton a day later. "They're a great team."
The winner advances to the semifinals and plays the winner of the Jeannette-Quaker Valley quarterfinals. The winner also draws a lot closer to a WPIAL title. Washington has won four during the 28-year coaching tenure of Ron Faust. South Fayette, an annual playoff team, is looking for its first WPIAL basketball title.
One thing to look for is the health of South Fayette sophomore Mike Lamberti, who tweaked an ankle late in Wednesday's victory. After the game, Lions coach Rich Bonnaure said Lamberti is fine.