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Mars boys lose in 3OT

ADAMS TWP — With Mars’ big men alternating in and out because of foul trouble, South Fayette’s Elijah Hill took advantage, pulling down an offensive board and sticking it back with one second left in regulation to force an overtime in the teams’ clash at the Planets’ place Friday night.

With buzzer-beating shots at the ends of both the first and second extra frames, Mars’ Tasso Sfanos kept the game going, but forward Remi Black’s absence in the third overtime proved critical for Mars. The Planets fell behind for good with 2:20 to go and couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole as the Lions left with a 77-72 victory.

Sfanos showed the ice in his veins with a turnaround jumper with one tick left on the clock in the first overtime and a contested three in the second. The makes came a week after he stole a win against Section 4-5A leader North Hills with a trey before the horn.

“It’s funny to say something like this, but that’s what we expect out of him,” Mars coach Rob Carmody said of Sfanos and his clutch heroics.

Black fouled out with a technical in the first overtime following a commendable effort down low against the visitors’ Hill, who finished with 34 points. If not for Black, Carmody said Hill might have poured in 50. South Fayette improved its record to 10-9 overall and 3-5 in the section.

Paired with Ryan Ceh’s foul trouble — he sat with 3:09 left in the first half and was in and out in the second — the Planets (13-6, 5-3) had to adjust on both ends of the court.

“They’ve got to keep their poise because, when both of them are on their game, we’re a different team,” Carmody said.

Sfanos totaled 25 points, each of which felt more important than the last. Three games remain on Mars’ schedule — a trip to conference foe Chartiers Valley on Tuesday and a home tilt with Moon three days later. They’ll close their regular-season schedule at Beaver Area on Feb. 13.

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