Despite a 10-day layout, South Fayette clicked on all cylinders and easily dispatched Plum, 72-29, in a first-round WPIAL Class 5 girls’ basketball playoff game on Feb. 21.

The Lions, who are seeded No. 1 in the tournament, had not played since upending North Allegheny, 46-43, in their final regular season game on Feb. 11.

“The long layoff had me concerned,” SF floor boss Bryan Bennett said. “But our kids were extremely focused. They knew they had a job to do and they got that job done.”

The Lions wasted no time, sprinting to a 22-0 advantage six minutes into the game. Though Bennett subbed freely, SF stretched its first frame lead of 26-5 to 48-13 by intermission to invoke a running clock for the second half of play. By the end of three quarters, SF’s margin increased to 60-21.

The Leroux sisters, Ava and Juliette, finished in double digits with 12 and 11 tallies while Maddie Webber pitched in 13 markers.

Megan Marston led the Mustangs with 15 points. Plum finished the season at 13-11 overall.

“I thought Plum was a pretty talented team. (Martson) is an outstanding player. She’s averaging over 18 a game, so we knew she was capable of keeping them in it,” Bennett said.

With the win, the Lions improved to 21-2 overall and remained in contention for their second straight district title. They won the WPIAL championship last year with an upset victory over Chartiers Valley, which now competes at the Class 6A level.

South Fayette was scheduled to face Penn-Trafford, a 29-28 winner against Shaler, in a quarterfinal game played Feb. 24.

The winner advances to the semifinals scheduled for Feb. 28. The WPIAL Class 5A championship contest is set for 5 p.m. March 4 at the Petersen Events Center on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

Editor’s Note: Joe Smeltzer from the Observer-Reporter contributed to this article.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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