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DIST. 5-A BOYS BASKETBALL: Shanksville-Southern Fulton matchup has makings of an instant classic

Here are just a few of the positives of Southern Fulton's boys basketball team:

• Three players are averaging at least 14 points per game;

• The No. 1-seeded Indians are 24-1 and haven't lost since early December;

• Southern Fulton's stifling defense has held its opponents to an average of just over 40 points per game.

Area coaches have called the Indians "darn near unstoppable," but if anyone could do it, it might just be Shanksville. The No. 2-seeded Vikings are likewise 24-1 and haven't lost since Jan. 17; they have a wide array of offensive weapons, including Jake Wilt (17.3 ppg); and teams are likewise averaging a mere 40.8 points against Shanksville.

The eerily similar squads will meet on Friday night at 8:30 at Pitt-Johnstown in the District 5 Class A championship.

"I honestly don't know what's going to happen," Shanksville coach Robert Snyder said. "In theory, it should be a good game. We've seen Southern Fulton in past years, and they always seem to have the upper hand."

But Southern Fulton won't have an easy ride this time. The Indians will need to improve a bit after winning the semifinal against McConnellsburg, a team it had beaten by a combined 42 points in the regular season. Southern Fulton won just 55-47.

"We just gotta focus on doing what we do, and we have to do it better than what we did tonight," Indian coach Kent Hendershot said. "McConnellsburg really hurt us with their penetration, so we obviously have to stop the attack better. That was a big part of our breakdown in giving up points."

Fortunately for Southern Fulton, it will have the size advantage, but there are several Vikings to watch out for. In addition to leading scorer Wilt, Tyler Ferko is also averaging in double figures with 12.5 ppg. Jesse Bittner (9.4 ppg), Aaron Smith (9.0) and Joe Hudak (8.9) are all big shooting threats.

"They have all five guys that can go out and light it up," Hendershot said. "They're probably more balanced scoring-wise than we are. There's not any one player that's going to hurt you, but a team of guys that can all hurt you."

Teams during the regular season have had trouble keying in on Southern Fulton's big three. Dylan Gordon (15.6), Connor Litton (15.6) and Trent Rider (14.3) have carried the load for the Indians, though. Zach Clark is the team's next best scorer with just 6.9 ppg, and no other player is averaging more than three.

"We can't shut down their three big guns, but we'll try to limit them," Snyder said. "We don't want them to get off on us. We're going to have to maintain our composure. I use a box analogy a lot: At some point, Southern Fulton will go for the knock-out punch, and we'll have to take that punch and counter in some way. We'll have to focus on what's gotten us to this point."

That point seems to be having an air of untouchability, but what happens when two unbeatable teams face each other? One must lose, and at this point, it seems like it's anyone's game.

Game data: District 5 Class A boys basketball championship ... Shanksville Vikings at Soutehrn Fulton Indians ... 8 p.m. Friday at University of Pitt-Johnstown.

Media: Follow @liziarbogast for live updates from the game.

Teams: The Vikings (24-1) are the No. 2 seed in the bracket and have won their first two games by a combined score of 133-70 ... No. 1-seeded Southern Fulton (24-1) pulled out a narrow 55-47 victory over McConnellsburg in the semifinals.

Series: Dating back to 1971, Southern Fulton leads the series 22-14. Shanksville trails 5-2 in playoff contests between the teams, which have faced off twice in the district final; Southern Fulton won both times.

P.O. pick: Indians by 5.