Monessen puts dent in Frazier's playoff hopes
By Jason Black
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 10:36 p.m.
When the Frazier girls basketball team took the floor Wednesday night for its Section 4-A home game against Monessen, the Commodores knew they controlled their own destiny for a spot in this year's WPIAL playoffs. But despite a fast start, the Commodores couldn't overcome some early foul trouble and were defeated by the Greyhounds, 45-39.
The loss left the Commodores' playoff hopes in peril. Frazier can still get into the postseason with a win tonight against section champion Serra. If Frazier loses, it will have to rely on Monessen beating Clairton on Saturday. Given Monessen's surge in recent weeks, some help from the Greyhounds is a real possibility.
Monessen has won four in a row and has climbed from fifth place to second in the section. The Greyhounds can clinch second place with a win against the Bears. Monessen's turnaround has been led by Mariah Ward and Chelsea Szakal.
Against the Commodores, Ward (19 points) and Szakal (16 points) were keys in helping Monessen clinch a playoff spot.
“Mariah and Chelsea had 35 points between them, and they have done their jobs as seniors,” Monessen coach Gina Naccarato said. Naccarato also mentioned that many of the young players on the team have gained confidence throughout the season, which also has helped the Greyhounds continue to improve.
Frazier (9-10, 4-5) is also a team looking to improve, and it was the better team in the first quarter. Lauren Timko knocked down three shots to help Frazier build an 11-5 lead. But Timko got into foul trouble, and with the Commodores leading, 16-13, she picked up her third foul midway through the second period and was forced to sit. With Timko on the sideline, the Greyhounds went on a 7-0 run and held a 23-21 lead at the half.
In the third, both teams tightened up defensively, but Cassidy Guiser kept Frazier in the game by knocking down two of her six 3-pointers. Guiser finished with a team-high 18 points, and Timko scored 14 points.
Heading to the fourth, Monessen (8-11, 5-4) held a slim 29-28 lead, but that's when Ward took over. Ward hit three baskets in the fourth, including two 3-pointers. She also knocked down four free throws to help the Greyhounds gain some breathing room.
“Ward is a good leader, and she sets the tone for them,” Frazier coach Shara Zupanc said.
Frazier continued to battle, but two more 3-pointers from Guiser were the only baskets the Commodores could muster in the decisive fourth quarter.
“We've struggled offensively,” Zupanc said. “We knew it was going to be a tough battle, and it was. I thought we played much better than we did against Clairton (a 48-44 loss to the Bears on Tuesday). We needed to play better, and I'm happy that we did that, but it wasn't enough to get the job done.”
For the Commodores, a chance to clinch a playoff spot was lost, but there is still plenty of hope for a spot in the postseason.
“I know they are disappointed,” Zupanc said. “But it takes time to build a program, and we've come a long way. All we can do now is get back to work.”
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- West Mifflin ponders late breakdowns in PIAA playoff loss
- Serra Catholic’s PIAA path and foe familiar
- Elizabeth Forward girls advance to PIAA second round
- Greensburg Central Catholic boys roll past Bald Eagle in PIAA opener
- Ligonier Valley basketball is a team effort for Hepner family
- Ligonier Valley girls exit playoffs
- After long layoff, Frazier, Mt. Pleasant girls set for PIAA tournament
- Burrell girls to begin PIAA championship quest
- Kiski Area shrugs off 54-point semifinal loss, refocuses on PIAA playoffs
- Defensive stop sets tone in Erie McDowell win over Kiski Area
- Free-throw shooting keys Fox Chapel’s opening-round win