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Frazier girls lock down Sewickley Academy to advance in Class A

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 11:36 p.m.
Bill Shirley | Daily Courier
Frazier's Emily Marshall (left) drives to the hoop against Sewickley Academy's Katelyn Ripple during a WPIAL Class A playoff game Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, at Chartiers-Houston.

In a game where points were at a premium, the Frazier girls basketball team found a magic formula in the third quarter and used it to notch a 29-14 victory over Sewickley Academy in a WPIAL Class A first-round game on Wednesday at Chartiers-Houston.

“This was a huge win for us,” Frazier coach Shara Zupanc said.

Sewickley Academy managed a 6-5 lead heading into the second quarter. However, the Commodores used a 6-0 run in the second quarter to take a 9-6 lead before settling for a 10-8 halftime advantage.

Things changed offensively for the Commodores (16-5) in the third quarter. Frazier's ability to get into the paint forced Sewickley Academy to put Frazier at the foul line. Hannah Kline, Emily Marshall and Lauren Timko all hit free throws. Plus, Timko, who led the Commodores with seven points, connected on two shots from the floor, and Cassidy Guiser drained a 3-pointer to help the Commodores take a 24-12 lead.

“That's typical Frazier basketball,” Zupanc said. “They stress me out for the first two quarters, and then they turn it up.”

Frazier's 14-point outburst in the third quarter was more than enough cushion for a team that played strong defensively. The Commodores gave up few open looks throughout the game and forced a number of turnovers.

“I think once our press came together, we got a lot of confidence,” Zupanc said. “We wanted to rely on our press to get some turnovers, and luckily, it worked out that way. That's our strength, and it ended up paying off.”

While Frazier's defense was strong, Sewickley Academy compounded its own problems by having a poor night of shooting. Mackenzie Coles led the Panthers (14-7) in scoring with four points.

“It was a really off-shooting night,” Sewickley Academy coach Christen Adels said, noting that several key players had missed three of the past four practices for personal reasons. “They were so excited to get here, but we just couldn't score, and we let them get too many offensive rebounds. But we had a tremendous season and we got to the playoffs. But Frazier played better, and give them credit.”

For the Commodores, the win was significant for a program trying to build itself into a perennial contender.

Next for Frazier is a match up against top-seeded Vincentian in a quarterfinal Saturday at a time and site to be determined.

“We know we will be in for a battle, and we just have to play our hardest,” Zupanc said.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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