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FR's eighth-grade team caps season by winning tourney title at home

The Franklin Regional eighth-grade girls basketball team closed out a 13-5 season by winning its own holiday tournament on Dec. 1 and 2, 2012. On the team were, in front, from left, coach Rick Klimchock, Danielle Hodowanec, Abby Kane, Bailey Vincett and Mia Miller; and in back, Hope Demont, Paige Verona, Samantha Fallet, Kassidy Hubert, Brooke Zanotto and Samantha Hlozek. Submitted

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Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

As the high school girls were getting their season started, Franklin Regional's middle school girls put the cap on a strong season.

The Franklin Regional eighth-grade girls basketball team won four games to take the championship of its own holiday tournament on Dec. 1 and 2, which brought the year to a close for the team with a 13-5 overall record.

Led by FR varsity coach Rick Klimchock, the eighth-grade Panthers' success this season has the future looking bright for the high school program.

“It's really a great opportunity for me to get to work with our eighth-graders,” Klimchock said. “It gives me a chance to help get the girls prepared to play our system and learn our style of play.”

While Klimchock's varsity teams have largely been known for their quick-strike offense, his middle school group kept the tournament title at home by playing a more defensive game.

Franklin Regional defeated Connellsville, 32-30; Latrobe, 35-17; and Hampton, 36-27; before taking the championship game in very defensive fashion over Hempfield, 21-16.

“As you can tell by the scores, we put a lot of emphasis on defense, and this group has the potential to be a really great pressure, trapping team,” Klimchock said.

The team's top scorers for the season were a pair of forwards, Kassidy Hubert and Paige Verona, both of whom averaged 10 points per game on the season, while guards Abby Kane and Danielle Hodowanec led the Panthers' defensive charge throughout the season and in the holiday tournament.

Sam Hlozek and Mia Miller provided additional scoring on the wing, while Brooke Zanotto and Sam Fallet added dept on the low post, and Bailey Vincett and Hope Demont rounded out Klimchock's 10-player rotation, much like the one he utilizes with his varsity teams.

“We had a very successful season, and the thing that's really great about this group is that the potential is there for a lot of key varsity players to develop from this team,” Klimchock said.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or

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