Char Valley comes back and beats South Fayette in WPIAL playoffs
Quit is a four-letter word that is not found in the vocabulary of the Chartiers Valley boys’ basketball team.
For, despite falling behind by nine points on several occasions and once by 12, the Colts roared back and defeated rival South Fayette, 67-62, in a WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal playoff game at Canon-McMillan.
“There’s no quit in my guys,” said CV floor boass Tim McConnell. “They are resilient.”
They proved that especially in the fourth quarter when they trailed by nine points with 5:07 to play,
The Colts weathered the Lions’ 12-2 run to start the final frame, a run that came on the heels of a wild third-quarter finish in which Michael Boulos scored a buzzer beater that afforded CV a 47-46 advantage.
Dom Castello ignited the rally when he buried the Colts’ sixth, 3-point field goal of the game, then he stripped the ball from the Lions and dashed in for an uncontested lay-up to cut the margin to 58-56 with 3:44 to play.
“When we hit that three at the (third-quarter) buzzer, I thought we had all the momentum,” explained McConnell, “but then they opened up the big lead.
“I wasn’t really nervous because I thought we had a lot of time left. We just needed to get turnovers and one of the keys was Castello. Once we got the lead, I was confident because I love my guards. They get it done.”
With 3:05 to play, Matty McConnell put the Colts ahead for good, 59-58, when he scored the first of eight free throws. CV scored 21 points on free throws while McConnell finished with 19 points in the contest.
Though not as sharp as McConnell from the charity stripe down the stretch, Boulos fired in a team-high 20 points. He ignited CV in the final moments of the third quarter.
With 22.4 seconds to play, he converted a four-point play to edge the Colts ahead by a point. Evan Bonnaure upped the ante with a trey to swing the game back into the Lions’ favor. Boulos responded and buried the buzzer beater to lift CV into the lead, 47-46 after three.
South Fayette controlled much of the play in the game.
Thanks to three, 3-pointers by Zach Challingsworth, the Lions edged ahead, 12-10, after one period. They stretched a 20-14 to nine points twice in the second stanza, 31-22 and 33-24, before settling into a 35-30 halftime lead.
By scoring the first seven points of the second half, the Lions extended their lead over the Colts to 42-30, before McConnell and Castello combined to cut the margin to 43-38 with 1:10 to go in the third. McConnell buried a three-pointer then stole the ball and scored a bucket while Castello connected on another long-range shot. Castello finished with 13 points.
For the Lions, Challingsworth led all scorers with a game-high 21 points. He and Bonnaure each buried four, 3-pointers. South Fayette converted 10, 3-pointers while Bonnaure finished with 17 points.
“This was a classic game,” said SF head coach Rich Bonnaure. “The best game. It’s as all WPIAL playoff games should be.
“It was a great game between two great programs. We played our best and we brought out the best in them. If there is any consolation, then that is it. You want to bring out the best in your opponent. It was a great effort by both teams.”
CV’s effort, however, vaults them into the semifinals against Beaver on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at a site and time to be determined. The Colts, who improved to 21-3 overall, dropped a 59-55 decision to the Bobcats earlier this season.
The Lions dropped to 14-10 and must wait until the WPIAL playoffs conclude to see if they would earn a berth in the PIAA tournament as the fifth or sixth qualifier from the district.