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Mt. Pleasant, Frazier relish opportunity to play top teams

Evan Sanders | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant's Brooke Kalp (left) looks to pass the ball to teammate Jordan Toohey (right) after controlling a loose ball from Belle Vernon's Kaitlyn Slagus (50) in the first half of Mt. Pleasant's game against Belle Vernon on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at Canon-McMillan High School. The Vikings will try to knock off top-seeded Blackhawk in a quarterfinal game at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 at North Allegheny High School.

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Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 12:30 a.m.
 

The Mt. Pleasant and Frazier girls basketball teams were able to win a first-round WPIAL playoff game this week.

However, for the Vikings and the Commodores to keep their seasons alive, they'll each have to knock off a powerhouse Saturday.

Mt. Pleasant (15-8) will play top-seeded Blackhawk (20-2) in a WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinal at 3 p.m. at North Allegheny.

Frazier (16-5) will take on top-seeded Vincentian Academy (19-3) in a WPIAL Class A quarterfinal at noon at West Allegheny.

Despite the significant challenge each team faces, neither club expects to be intimidated by their favored opponents.

“A lot of people say, it's Vincentian and do you really expect to win?' ” Frazier coach Shara Zupanc said. “The answer is yes. We have worked very hard the last few years to get the program to this level. When you have talent and hard work, success is bound to happen. We're looking forward to playing our hardest, and we plan on leaving it all out on the floor.”

Vincentian Academy is solid in all facets. The Royals are coming off an 82-14 thumping of Carmichaels in a first-round game.

Vincentian has scored more than 60 points 15 times this season.

Conversely, they have given up 30 points or less on 10 occasions. Junior Brenna Wise leads the Royals with 18.4 points per game and has pulled down 154 defensive rebounds.

Sophomore Torrieonna Cash is scoring close to 11 points per game.

The Royals are the two-time defending WPIAL champions in Class A, and the Commodores are just starting to enjoy some playoff success.

“We're banking on Vincentian taking us lightly, and we hope to use that to our advantage,” Zupanc said.

Like Frazier, Mt. Pleasant is coming off a big victory but must quickly reset in order to be ready for a big challenge.

The Vikings earned the right to face Blackhawk thanks to an emotional 46-42 victory over Belle Vernon, a team that had beaten Mt. Pleasant during the regular season.

“It was a really important win,” Mt. Pleasant coach Scott Giacobbi said. “We put together a game plan that was playing to our strengths and taking away some of the things they do well, and it came together.”

Giacobbi and his players will have to execute another big-time game plan if it hopes to knock off the Cougars.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. Reach him at jblack@tribweb.com.

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