Experienced Frazier girls basketball team looks forward to new season
One of the first lessons Shara Zupanc learned when she arrived at Frazier three years ago was how to block out the noise.
“I was told I was stepping on a hornet's nest, that it was a rough situation and that there was no talent here,” Zupanc said.
Three years later, Zupanc remains at the helm of the Frazier girls basketball team, but the chatter is gone. Two consecutive playoff berths and a starting lineup full of experience have quieted the whispers.
Frazier did not lose a senior to graduation after a 10-12 season in 2012-13, which ended with a first-round playoff loss to North Catholic.
This year's starting lineup is led by seniors Lauren Timko and Kaley Barota, along with juniors Cassidy Guiser, Hannah Kline and Jamie Muccioli.
Kline and Muccioli can both run the point, with Timko, Barota and Guiser able to play guard or forward.
“We haven't had this experience before,” Zupanc said. “We've been saying this is going to be our year (since I got here). We've really been working hard to get to this point, and we've been trying to build a foundation.”
Barota is expected to split time between basketball and hockey, and her absence will mean playing time for sophomore Emily Marshall.
Zupanc also expects seniors Jessica Kulwicki, Lauren Somers, Morgan Eckman and Riley Vargo to contribute.
“All of these kids are really great kids,” Zupanc said. “I'm really excited about this season, but I've been kind of dreading it, also.
“We're like a family, and after this season, we'll have to lose some of our girls.”
Frazier again will compete in Section 4-A, along with Clairton, Geibel, Monessen, Serra and Winchester Thurston. Last season, Serra played in the WPIAL Class A title game.
“Serra is always the team to look at, and Winchester Thurston is always a challenge,” Zupanc said. “I think Geibel is going to improve and might surprise a couple of teams as well. Any time you play Monessen and Clairton, the aggressiveness and feistiness will lead to difficult games.”
The Commodores will open the season with an exhibition game Dec. 9 at Chartiers Houston.
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.