Frazier boys basketball team suffers 5th straight loss
The South Allegheny and Frazier boys basketball teams were each in need of some confidence heading into Wednesday's nonsection contest in Perryopolis. The Commodores came in on a four-game slide, and the Gladiators were riding a three-game skid.
After the game, both coaches felt that a measure of confidence had been achieved, but it was South Allegheny that was able to snap its losing streak by pulling out a 55-53 win on the road.
“We needed a great team effort and we needed to get some momentum,” South Allegheny coach Tony DiCenzo said. “We needed a confidence boost, and (Wednesday) was it.”
The Gladiators (2-4) and Commodores (1-5) played a back-and-forth game, with each team playing well in spurts. In the first quarter, South Allegheny's Brandon Murn and Harry Matczak combined for 14 points to help South Allegheny build a 16-10 advantage. However, both of those players were held in check the rest of the game. Each finished with 12 points.
But even though the scoring tailed off for Murn and Matczak, Kordell Thompson was there to pick up the slack. Thompson finished with a team-high 17 points, including 10 in the second half.
“He is our go-to player,” DiCenzo said, explaining that Thompson rolled an ankle in South Allegheny's last game, and he was a question mark for Wednesday's contest. “He toughed it out, and we needed him.”
For the Commodores, the game was mostly played in catch-up mode. After falling behind early, Frazier made up some ground in the second and third quarters. Vincent Bucci hit a driving layup late in the third quarter to send the game into the final eight minutes tied, 38-38. In the fourth, Roger Cline hit three straight shots to give the Commodores a 48-46 lead with just more than two minutes remaining. Cline finished with a game-high 18 points, and Bucci tallied 16.
With just over a minute left, Frazier was clinging to a 48-47 lead, but that's when South Allegheny's Jeiron Lewis picked the perfect time to get involved. Lewis hit a clutch 3-pointer, then kissed in a layup to give South Allegheny a 52-48 lead. Those were Lewis' only five points, but they couldn't have come at a bigger time.
“He comes off the bench, and he works hard,” DiCenzo said. “I tell him to keep scrapping, and it worked in our favor.”
The Commodores clawed back to 55-53 and had the ball with 13 seconds left. However, a last-second jumper fell short. For Frazier, a poor start proved costly.
“At the beginning of the game, we put ourselves in a hole,” Frazier coach Ed Keebler said. “We worked our butts off in the second half, but we have to play four quarters to win. We did take the ball to the hole strong, and hopefully that will give them some confidence to know that they can do it.”
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.