Monday, March 21, 2011

South Fayette getting timely contributions

Reaching a PIAA championship basketball game is a difficult task. South Fayette, which won a Class AA title last year, is one win from getting there a second consecutive season.

The Lions (25-2) play rival Montour (22-7) in Tuesday's PIAA Class AAA semifinal at Chartiers Valley. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and it marks the fourth meeting between the two teams, both members of Section 5.

South Fayette is 2-1 in those meetings, but Montour won the big one - a 45-34 victory in the WPIAL championship game.

South Fayette played its worst game of the season in that one, but the Lions have corrected things in the state tournament and posted impressive wins over District 3's Eastern York, District 6 champion Johnstown and District 10's General McLane.

"Sometimes, I think people focus on the two we lost instead of the 25 we've won," South Fayette coach Rich Bonnaure said. "These guys enjoy what they're doing."

Point guard Pat Zedreck and forward Mike Lamberti are the Lions' top two players and will be focal points of Montour's defensive efforts. What makes South Fayette so tough to beat this time of the year is the contributions it gets from other players.

Guys like Christian Brumbaugh and Josh Patterson (both pictured), guard Nick Elder and sophomore Zach Challingsworth among others.

Brumbaugh rebounds and defends the post well. Patterson is an absolute menace on defense, but he helped South Fayette salt a 67-59 win over Eastern York at the free throw line, where he made 8 of 10 and finished with 12 points. Elder scored eight crucial points in the second half and Challingsworth blocked an Andrew Nicholas shot as the Lions made things as difficult as possible for the Monmouth recruit.

"A lot of good teams have that aspect where everyone chips in," Bonnaure said. "The guys do what they need to do to get the win. They have a knack for making plays. I can't always figure it out but they do it."

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