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Frazier girls hold out hope of getting berth in PIAA playoffs

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By Kevin Ritchart
Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, 10:15 p.m.

Frazier girls basketball coach Shara Zupanc didn't go into Saturday's playoff game against Vincentian expecting to lose.

“I hate when people say that,” Zupanc said after the Commodores were eliminated from the WPIAL Class A playoffs. “Everybody expects us to be nice and polite and happy to be here, but we came here to play.”

Frazier (16-6) dropped a 60-21 decision to top-seeded Vincentian (20-3) at West Allegheny in the quarterfinals, but the Commodores did their best to make plays against the bigger, stronger Royals.

“I'm proud of my team,” Zupanc said. “(Vincentian) has some serious talent. It could have been a lot uglier.”

Senior Lauren Timko was the leading scorer for the Commodores on Saturday with nine points. Junior Cassidy Guiser scored five points, including her team's lone 3-pointer of the game early in the first quarter.

Four Vincentian players scored in double figures. The Royals were paced by a 15-point effort from junior Brenna Wise.

While they had trouble connecting on passes and finding room to take uncontested shots on offense, the Commodores weren't shy about diving for loose balls or going for steals on the defensive end.

“To win these types of games, you have to box out, rebound and make plays,” Zupanc said. “They pressed us for three quarters essentially, and we didn't handle the pressure.”

Despite being eliminated from the WPIAL tournament, Frazier can qualify for the PIAA playoffs if Vincentian goes on to win the WPIAL championship. The top five teams from the WPIAL earn spots in the PIAA Class A draw.

“We're absolutely going to root for Vincentian now,” Zupanc said. “Sign us up for the bandwagon. Get us some T-shirts.”

The Commodores will practice this week with the hope that their season isn't over. Vincentian will take on Quigley in the semifinals Wednesday night.

“We've never been in this situation before,” Zupanc said. “It will be business as usual this week, and we'll see what happens.”

Whether Frazier plays another game or not, the 2013-14 season already has proven to be a building block for future success.

“We've had a great season,” Zupanc said. “We've surprised some teams and won a lot of games.

“I'm looking forward to the future of our program.”

Kevin Ritchart is a freelance writer.

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