Laurel’s season ends against South Fayette
South Fayette (62) Vs. Laurel (30)
Feb 25, 2010
IMPERIAL — Too good, too deep, too much.
The South Fayette High boys basketball team proved that last night with a 62-30 win over Laurel in a WPIAL Class AA first-round playoff game at West Allegheny.
The fourth-seeded Lions (18-4) move on to face Beaver Falls, a 50-48 winner over New Brighton, on Saturday at a time and site to be determined by the WPIAL. The Spartans’ season ended at 13-8.
“That’s not the way you want to go out; you don’t want to remember your season by the beating we took,” Laurel coach Mike Tinstman said. “But, I told the players that I am proud of the fact that they worked hard. We’re not the biggest team or the fastest team, but throughout the season, they did work hard and we had some success. Maybe it wasn’t as much as we had hoped it to be at the beginning of the year, but I am very proud of the effort they gave.”
Laurel was outgunned against South Fayette, which was perched among the WPIAL Class AA rankings most of the season before faltering in late January with a three-game losing skid. The Lions rebounded to close the season with a five-game winning streak and were determined to keep that going in the playoffs.
“We’ve had some games where we had big leads this year and we come back into the locker room frustrated for losing focus. There’s no time now to lose focus,” South Fayette coach Rich Bonnaure said. “We told them to not look at the scoreboard and keep up the intensity and I thought they did a good job with it. Both teams played hard right to the end.”
In addition, the Spartans’ comeback win over Monessen on Saturday stuck in the Lions’ minds. Laurel faced a 9-0 deficit and trailed by 14 in the third quarter against the Greyhounds before rallying for a dramatic 45-44 win on Mike Natale’s last-second shot.
“I expected a tight game. I think they are well-coached. I thought, if we could have a good start, we could have a good game. That’s exactly what happened,” Bonnaure said. “The players also learned from Saturday. We told the kids not to take the foot off the gas because Laurel is a veteran team.
“If there’s a pressure round, this is it. I thought, after the week layoff, they came out maybe better than I expected.”
South Fayette stormed to a 10-0 lead and held a 17-3 margin at the end of the first quarter. The Spartans struggled to find any offensive cohesiveness in the second half, too, as the Lions marched into the locker room with a 37-12 advantage.
“They did basically what we wanted to do. We knew they were an excellent team. We knew that, to be in the ballgame, we needed to shoot well,” Tinstman said. “They came out and took us out of it — we were never in the game. We were never in our offense and we were taking poor shots. Before you knew it, it was out of control. To play a team like that, you have to be under control, but they just took us out of it and I give them all the credit in the world.
“I have seen their scores. They have scored a lot of points over the year. I am disappointed in the fact that we didn’t handle their attack a little better,” he continued. “We just didn’t shoot well. They play great defense, but as a coach, you expect them to be able to handle the pressure a little better, make the better passes and get the open shots. We just didn’t do that.”
Jake Dando and Eric Wallas led Laurel with nine points apiece. Shane Caldararo had five points, while Chad Long added four and Mike Natale tallied three. The Spartans graduate four starters (Dando, Wallas, Caldararo and Natale), as well as Tyler Forbes, who was in the starting lineup before undergoing a season-ending appendectomy.
Mike Lamberti led the Lions’ balanced attack with 14 points. Mike Burroughs had 12, while Pat Zedreck chipped in 11.