Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Spartans Denied Title a Second Time

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Spartans Denied Title a Second Time

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Montour's players solemnly walked to their locker room, tears in some of their eyes. Behind them, music blared through the Bryce Jordan Center. "We Are The Champions."

But the song wasn't for Montour -- again.

For the second year in a row, Montour played Neumann-Goretti of Philadelphia in the PIAA Class AAA championship. And for the second year in a row, Neumann-Goretti beat Montour.

Montour (24-5) put up a valiant fight against a Neumann-Goretti team that had won four previous PIAA games by 27 points or more. But Neumann-Goretti prevailed, 48-45.

"No doubt this one hurts more," said an emotional Adam Kaufman, Montour's coach. "Just because of this group of guys. I'm never going to get to coach them again. They are winners. They are the toughest group of people I've ever been around. ... That's what hurts. I would've been hurt win or lose because I don't get to coach them again."

While it was the second year in a row Neumann-Goretti (28-3) defeated Montour, it was the third championship in a row overall for the Saints.

The game came down to the final buzzer. Horrible free-throw shooting by Neumann-Goretti in the fourth quarter allowed Montour to come back from a seven-point deficit in the final minute and have a chance to tie. Neumann-Goretti was 5 of 15 from the line in the fourth quarter.

With his team holding a 48-45 lead with 6.8 seconds left, Neumann- Goretti's Derrick Stewart missed two free throws.

Montour's Dillon Buechel rebounded and took a few dribbles before passing ahead to Tyler Haas, who quickly threw in the corner to an open Kevin Scuilli. This was Montour's best 3-point shooter, and Neumann-Goretti somehow lost sight of him and left him open.

Scuilli already had made four 3-pointers in the game after making five Wednesday in the semifinals. He took a pass and fired a 3- pointer, but it came up short.

"I was very surprised I was that open because they had been yelling all the time [on defense] 'Don't leave him, don't leave him,' " Scuilli said. …

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