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Coach believes defense will be key for Frazier boys team

| Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, 12:11 a.m.

Ed Keebler hopes his team buys into the numbers.

Keebler believes Frazier fell short of the WPIAL playoffs last season because it gave up too many points. It's that simple.

“I showed them the stats,” Keebler said. “The 24 teams that made the playoffs gave up an average of 54 points per game. We gave up 64 (per game). We were there with our scoring, but we gave up too many. Hopefully, the numbers have sunk in a little bit.”

Keebler begins his fifth season as coach with three returning starters: seniors Charles Manack (forward), Roger Cline (guard) and Zachary Poling (forward).

“They're all great kids,” Keebler said. “They all worked hard in the offseason. They're good leaders by example.”

Manack is a three-year letterman and was Frazier's leading scorer last season.

“Charlie gives 110 percent all the time,” Keebler said.

Cline and Poling earned their first letters a year ago.

The Commodores have a handful of players battling for the final two starting spots, including junior forward Tyler Kennedy, sophomores Mark Dillon (forward) and Caleb Cox (guard) and freshman guard Alvin Ross.

“We can go nine deep,” Keebler said. “I can bring guys off the bench, and we won't lose a step. My job is to have the right people on the floor. We have a nice mix of younger and older kids. We'll see how it goes.”

Frazier will compete in Section 5-AA along with Bentworth, Beth-Center, Brownsville, Charleroi, California, Jefferson-Morgan and West Greene.

Keebler believes the conference has two clear heavyweights then a lot of parity.

“Brownsville and Charleroi will be the top two teams,” Keebler said. “Then a lot of us will be fighting for the rest of the playoff spots.

“We definitely can score. We proved that last year and averaged almost 60 points per game. We just need to play better defense and not give up as many points.”

Frazier will open the season by taking on Mapletown in the Geibel Tip-off Tournament on Dec. 6.

Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.

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