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Frazier girls finally top Monessen

| Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

It's been a while since the Frazier girls' basketball team has beaten Monessen.

Long enough that neither Lady Greyhounds coach Gina Naccarato or Lady Commodores coach Shara Zupanc can remember.

Nonetheless, the streak is over.

The visiting Lady Commodores went toe-to-toe with the Lady Greyhounds and came out with a 56-50 win in the teams' Section 4 A opener.

Zupanc said Monday's win over Monessen was a staple, a signature win for her program.

“Last year coming in, the district and probably the team, never thought we'd be at the point we are now,” Zupanc said. “I just told them that how they handled the pressure, kept their composure, and fought through adversity ... and just their sportsmanship and character. That's important to us at Frazier. I'm really proud of them tonight.”

Zupanc said her team is well aware of the tradition and reputation of the Lady Greyhounds.

“I think anybody would say that Monessen has the reputation for being scrappy and tough. They may not have the best talent, but you know you're going to get a game when you come here and play them,” Zupanc said. “We knew it was going to be loud and we prepared for that in practice by making our own noise. I think we were intimidated a little at first, who wouldn't be, but they handled the pressure well. We're really proud.”

Neither team played its best game as they combined for 55 turnovers. Foul trouble haunted the Lady Greyhounds as three players fouled out, including leading scorer Mariah Ward with more than five minutes remaining in the game.

Ward led the way for the Lady Greyhounds (0-7, 0-1) with a game-high 20 points.

“It's tough when Mariah's not in there,” Naccarato said. “With her out, someone else had to assert themselves. I was pleased at the end, though. We never hang our heads and never thought we didn't have a chance to win the game. The younger girls stepped up when they realized they had to score.”

Chelsea Szakal, coming off a 9-month absence with a knee injury, scored six points in the fourth quarter for the Lady Greyhounds. She finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

“She's getting there,” Naccarato said of the senior. “I think her mind is telling her to do things and her body just can't do it yet. It's a matter of her getting back into basketball shape, which she will.”

The Lady Commodores (4-3, 1-0) remained composed through numerous fouls and 33 of their own turnovers. Their balanced offensive attack came via numerous layups after breaking Monessen's pressure. When they had problems breaking the Lady Greyhounds' press late in the fourth quarter, they knocked down 12 of 20 free throws.

Sophomore guard Cassidy Guiser led the way for the Lady Commodores with a team-high 13 points. Jamie Muccioli added 12 points and junior Kaley Barota chipped in 12. Hannah Kline (9) and Lauren Timko (8) combined for 17.

“They scored more points than us and they played really hard,” Naccarato said. “They got the win. The best thing we can do is move on.”

Zupanc hopes other teams will have a different outlook when they see the Lady Commodores on the schedule.

“We're weren't really looked at as being near the top of our section,” Zupanc said of her squad. “That's OK, though. We like to fly under the radar. Maybe teams will start looking at us a little differently now and give us respect. The girls deserve it.”

The Lady Commodores resume play today when they host Charleroi. The Lady Greyhounds will regroup for a big 4-A matchup at Serra Catholic Monday.

West Mifflin 75, Belle Vernon Area 66

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.

That was the theme of the game for the Lady Leps.

BVA committed 30 turnovers, including two on consecutive possessions while trailing by two points with less than two minutes remaining, as they suffered their first section loss to the Lady Titans.

Jessica Slagus continued with her hot hand and led the way for the Lady Leps (6-3, 2-1) with 19 points and teammate Tiernie Singleton added 17, but their output wasn't enough to make up for all the turnovers.

West Mifflin (3-5, 2-0) was led by Taylor Thomas' game-high 26 points. Paige Flore added 15 points for the winners while teammates Alyssa Cairns and Dellona DeVoutin each scored 10.

“West Mifflin is a good team, they have a little bit of everything,” BVA coach Lisa Fairman said. “Quite frankly, I think we cost ourselves tonight. I'm sick to my stomach. You can't commit that many turnovers and win.”

To make matters worse, BVA missed 13 free throws, finishing 27 of 40 from the line.

The Lady Leps will look to bounce back Monday when they travel to Thomas Jefferson.

Ringgold 42, Thomas Jefferson 35

The Lady Jaguars had no answer for Ringgold's 6-2 forward Josie Schmidt as the senior scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Lady Rams to a Section 4 AAA win.

Ringgold (5-4, 2-1) Ringgold jumped out to a 14-5 lead at the end of the first quarter and managed to hold on for the win.

Paige Risley (13) and Alexis Yanief (11) combined for 24 points for TJ (3-7, 1-2).

The Lady Rams host Brownsville for a section tilt Monday.

California 39, Jeff-Morgan 38

The Lady Trojans remained tied atop the Section 3 A standings after surviving against the Lady Rockets.

California trailed by one at halftime and outscored JM, 18-12, in the third.

The Lady Trojans were held to only four points in the fourth quarter and were let off the hook when a last-second shot by the Lady Rockets (4-5, 0-1) fell short.

Courtnee McMasters led the Lady Trojans (9-1, 1-0) with 19 points and Tristen Conaway chipped in 10 for the winners.

First place will be up for grabs when the Lady Trojans travel to Carmichaels (9-1, 1-0) Monday.

Bentworth 56, Burgettstown 50

The Lady Bearcats led by 13 at the half, were outscored 31-18 in the second half, but managed to hold on against the winless Lady Blue Devils (0-9, 0-3).

Taylor Pompei scored 21 points and Reilly Skerbetz added 19 to lead Bentworth (4-6, 2-2) to the win. Burgettstown was led by Mareena Smith, who scored 15 points.

The Lady Bearcats will travel to Yough Tuesday for a non-section matchup.

Elizabeth Forward 64, Brownsville 21

The Lady Warriors jumped to a quick 25-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and rolled to an easy Section 4 AAA victory over the Lady Falcons.

Natalie Fekula, Dana Buck, and Alison Pastore scored 14, 13, and 12 points respectively to lead the Elizabeth Forward (9-1, 2-0).

Mt. Pleasant 41, Yough 20

Elaina Fearer nailed three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points and Casey Zelenak added 10 points to outscore Yough and lead the Lady Vikings (5-4, 2-1) to a Section 3 AAA win.

The Lady Cougars trailed by 11 at the half and were outscored 19-0 in the third quarter. Natalie Peebles led the Yough (5-5, 1-3) with eight points.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2667.

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