SHARON, Pa. – Maddie Webber called game, and broke Cathedral Prep’s heart in the process.
Weber’s 3-pointer as time expired sent WPIAL champion South Fayette past the Ramblers, 40-37 in the PIAA Class 5A quarterfinals.
“They’re an excellent team and got a little bit of momentum at the end,” said Cathedral Prep coach Doug Chuzie. “A shot like that, it’s part of March Madness. It wasn’t a clean look, but sometimes the ball bounces to the other team and she hit an amazing shot.”
It was a game that Cathedral Prep led nearly the entire way, including a 27-15 advantage after a pair of Lena Walz free throws with 5:28 to go in the third quarter.
But South Fayette (27-2) battled back, and Webber and Erica Hall were the catalysts, with a big assist from Juliette Leroux off the bench.
Leroux, who didn’t enter the game until the fourth, got a key steal and knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:03 to go to tie the game.
The Lions then committed a foul in the backcourt, sending Prep to the line in the double bonus, but McKenna Valone missed both shots with one minute to play, setting the stage for Webber’s heroics.
Before Webber’s buzzer-beater, South Fayette hadn’t led since a Hall jumper gave them a 5-3 lead at the 5:30 mark of the first quarter.
“Our girls have guts,” Chuzie said. “Day in, day out, and to play the No. 1 team in the state down to the wire like that, that’s special.”
Walz and Addie Biel did most of the offensive damage for the Rambers (23-2), with Walz scoring 10 of her 13 points in the first half, while Biel had 11 points.
The Ramblers closed the first half on a 9-3 run to take a 23-15 halftime advantage, with Walz accounting for seven of those points and Tori Mayes also added a bucket.
Biel made a shot to start the second half and Walz’s free throws gave the Ramblers their largest lead of the game early in the third quarter.
Hall and Weber spearheaded a 9-2 response from South Fayette, however, cutting it to a 29-24 deficit to start the fourth quarter.
With the win, South Fayette advances to play Oakland Catholic (a 60-59 winner in overtime over McKeesport) in the semifinals in a rematch of the WPIAL title game.
“We talked about the love in the locker room and how much we appreciate everything they’ve done for each other,” Chuzie said. “We thanked them for being great teammates and celebrating the success of the season.”
SOUTH FAYETTE 40, CATHEDRAL PREP 37
Score By Quarters
Cathedral Prep 12 11 6 8 – 37
South Fayette 6 9 9 16 – 40
Cathedral Prep – 37
Lena Walz 4 4-6 13, Jayden McBride 2 2-2 6, Addie Biel 5 0-0 11, Tori Mayes 1 4-4 6, Ava Lucaroti 0 1-2 1, McKenna Valone 0 0-2 0, Totals 12 11-16 37
South Fayette – 40
Maddie Webber 5 2-2 15, Erica Hall 4 2-4 11, Ava Leroux 3 1-2 7, Rachel Black 1 3-4 5, Julianna Rossi 0 0-0 0, Juliette Leroux 0 2-2 2, Totals 13 10-14 40
Three-pointers: Cathedral Prep 2 (Walz, Biel); South Fayette 4 (Webber 3, Hall)
CLASS 4A QUARTERFINAL
(7-2) BLACKHAWK 40, (10-1) FAIRVIEW 34
SHARON, Pa. – Blackhawk closed the game on a 7-0 run to beat District 10 champion Fairview, 40-34 in the PIAA quarterfinals on Saturday.
The Lady Tigers (21-7) led 34-33 after a Bre Heidt bucket with 3:43 to play, but Kassie Potts scored six points down the stretch, including what proved to be the game-winning layup with 3:28 to play.
“These girls are unbelievable,” said Fairview coach Aaron Garrity. “It’s unbelievable how much effort they gave tonight, how attentive they were to our scout, and how they believed in each other. I’m super proud of this group.”
It was a game that was played within a tight window throughout, with the six-point margin of victory the largest lead either team had at any point in the game.
Fairview had opportunities late, but the ball just didn’t bounce their way, including a Sara Gennuso jumper that went in and out that would have given them the lead with two minutes to play.
Blackhawk (24-4) spread the ball out and burned the clock, forcing Fairview to foul, with Potts going 4-for-4 from the line in the final 30 seconds to help seal the win.
“We were up one with three minutes to go and that’s a really, really good team, but so are we,” Garrity said. “We all believed in each other. We were in the game and the only thing you can say to them afterward is how proud we are of them. They wear that jersey with pride and represent themselves and our school district with so much pride.”
Fairview trailed by as many as five in the first half and took its first lead of the game on a Hope Garrity bucket that made it 23-22 with 3:05 to go in the third quarter.
That was part of a 12-6 run by Fairview in the third, which included six points from Bre Heidt.
Blackhawk’s Aubree Hupp answered with a 3 to tie the game at 27.
Fairview took a 3-point lead on a Gennuso jumper early in the fourth, but Blackhawk responded with a bucket from Hupp and Alena Fusetti to re-take the lead.
Hope Garrity departs as the most decorated player in program history for Fairview. The program’s all-time leading scorer finished with 11 points, while Heidt had nine and Gennuso and Ella Garrity seven each.
Potts and Fusetti had 15 points each for Blackhawk, which advances to play North Catholic, a 60-27 winner over Wyomissing, in the semifinals. It will be a rematch of the WPIAL title game.
“They just kept getting better and better and believing in each other,” coach Garrity said. “They really started to enjoy the journey. March was an amazing month for us. We believed in each other and played for each other.”
BLACKHAWK 40, FAIRVIEW 34
Score By Quarters
Fairview 7 8 13 9 – 34
Blackhawk 10 8 9 13 – 40
Fairview – 34
Hope Garrity 4 2-2 11, Sara Gennuso 3 1-1 7, Ella Garrity 1 4-4 7, Addy George 0 0-0 0, Bre Heidt 4 1-4 9, Emma DiStefano 0 0-0 0, Riley Sholes 0 0-0 0, Totals 12 8-11 34
Blackhawk – 40
Kassie Potts 4 6-6 15, Alena Fusetti 4 6-7 15, Aubree Hupp 3 1-1 8, Haley Romigh 1 0-1 2, Piper Romigh 0 0-2 0, Ava Davis 0 0-0 0, Andrea Kinger 0 0-0 0, Totals 12 13-17 40
Three-pointers: Fairview 2 (H. Garrity, E. Garrity); Blackhawk 3 (Potts, Fusetti, Hupp)