ShareThis Page

Elizabeth Forward's win lifts team into 1st place

| Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 11:18 p.m.

There really isn't much to tell a team trailing by 12 after one quarter, but Elizabeth Forward coach Sam Kosanovich did his best to keep his Warriors calm.

“We talked with them about one possession at a time,” Kosanovich said. “You can't make up 10 or 12 points with one shot, so we talked about the things that brought us to this point, which was pressure defense. They showed a lot of character, stepped up and played pressure defense.”

Needless to say, Trib Total Media Class AAA No. 4 Elizabeth Forward (12-1, 5-0) not only listened intently, but it put those words to good use. They forced several turnovers and came away with a 55-49 home victory over Belle Vernon (8-4, 4-2) in the first of their two meetings. The win, coupled with West Mifflin's loss to Thomas Jefferson, gives the Warriors sole possession of first place in Section 3.

“We take it one game at a time, we're a very humble team, and that's the way we want to continue,” Kosanovich said. “We respect our opponent, we go into every game trying to play the best we can, and we take nothing for granted. Being in first place in great, but I'd rather be in first place at the end of the season, not midseason.”

Elizabeth Forward almost found itself in a three-way tie for first place with West Mifflin and Belle Vernon. The Leopards took a 20-8 lead after the first quarter, but after senior center Jessica Slagus, who led the team with 21 points, picked up her third foul with six minutes remaining in the first half, the Warriors were able to chip away and finally get a run started that got them back into the game.

“We have to remain relaxed, and in close games, we've got to stay focused and, unfortunately, we didn't do that and we fell short,” Belle Vernon coach Lisa Fairman said. “Jessica is definitely a leader on the floor and having to sit her for six minutes hurt us a little bit offensively, but that doesn't excuse the fact that we didn't step it up on defense and hold it together when she was out.”

Instead, leading 23-12 with five minutes left in the half, Belle Vernon committed eight turnovers down the stretch. Dana Buck scored 12 of her game-high 24 points in the second quarter to help Elizabeth Forward take a 26-25 lead into intermission.

“That's what you expect from a senior who's been there for four years,” Kosanovich said. “She came out and picked up the tempo and helped get us back in the game.”

What was also key for Elizabeth Forward was the stellar guard play of sophomore Abigail Sporio, who harassed Belle Vernon players all over the court and helped force quite a few of the Leopards' 13 fourth-quarter turnovers that helped the Warriors erase a 41-37 deficit.

“I still believe in my heart that we have a great team,” Fairman said. “We battle and we fight hard and we just have to continue to work hard at practice, remain composed and play fourth quarters and finish.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.