For David Mislan, South Fayette’s last-second 48-46 victory over Franklin Regional in a first-round WPIAL Class 5A boys basketball playoff game at Peters Township came down to one thing.
“It’s not about the X’s and O’s,” he said, “it’s about the Jimmies and the Joes.”
Mislan doesn’t have any Jimmies on his roster, but he does have a Joe and players named Kade, Brandon, Connor and Drew who helped the Lions to extend their season.
Joe Alcorn, who made a key bucket to pull the Lions’ deficit to 44-43 finished with 11 points. Brandon Jakiela, who buried a 3-pointer in the pivotal fourth quarter, also scored 11 points as did senior guard Connor Mislan.
But Kade St. Ledger had the big bucket. With less than four seconds remaining, the junior scored the game-winning basket on a layup.
“Our guys made the last play of the game. That’s the bottom line,” Mislan said. “If there weren’t 3.7 seconds and it was 10, they would have gotten a good look at their end and they have good players.”
Franklin Regional was led by Luke Kimmich and Logan Summerhill. Each scored 13 points for the Panthers.
The Lions, however, were very aware of the Panthers’ other five starters, including Caden Smith and Johnny O’Toole. They helped open up a lead that South Fayette closed to 29-28 with an 8-2 run to end the first half.
The Lions continued their hot streak into the third quarter.
South Fayette took a 36-30 lead when it converted three of their first four shots in the second half. However, FR forged ahead, 40-39, by the end of the quarter.
“It was a clean game and both teams executed,” Mislan said. “They are hard to guard. “You can’t leave (Summerhill) or you get help on him. He’s that good and Kimmich was making shots.Then you have O’Toole in the post. You have to get a body on him or you are dead. You have to guard five guys.”
The Lions were equal to the task.
“Every timeout, every chance I got I told the guys this is just another day at the office. This is what we do. We are not blowing anybody out and I don’t expect to get blown out.
“When I was watching film on Franklin, I thought that this might be the two hottest teams coming into the playoffs. It doesn’t mean we are the best team but we are the hottest.”
South Fayette (16-7) advances to face Mars (17-5) in the quarterfinals.