Frazier, EF girls set to hit PIAA road
The Frazier and Elizabeth Forward girls' basketball teams face not only tough draws against district champions, but long bus rides in their respective PIAA first round playoff games.
The Lady Commodores (16-6) snuck into the states as the fifth seed out of District 7 as a result of Vincentian beating Serra in the WPIAL title game.
Frazier goes up against District 9 champion Clarion Area (20-5) at Clarion University. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.
The Lady Warriors (20-4), the fourth seed out of District 7, take on three-time District 9 champion Bradford Area (21-2) at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.
Frazier is in the state playoffs for the first time in the school's history, and coach Shara Zupanc said her team is excited about its prospects.
“Making it to states definitely is huge for our girls and it's kind of like icing on the cake,” Zupanc said. “I thought it would be a problem to continue to motivate (during the long stretch without a game), but the girls have practiced hard and it has been business as usual.”
Even though her team is taking on a district champion, Zupanc doesn't seem fazed by the task at hand.
“We definitely feel like we can be successful,” Zupanc said. “We are pumped to drive three hours on Saturday and cause an upset. As long as we play strong defense and we are aggressive offensively, I think we can pull out a win.”
Frazier is led by Cassidy Guiser (9.6 ppg, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists), Lauren Timko (8.5 ppg, 4.7 rebounds), Kaley Barota (6.6), Hannah Kline (6.3), and Jamie Muccioli (4.7).
Clarion has won the district title two years in a row, having beaten Keystone, 63-52, in the title game.
The Lady Bobcats are led by Maci Thornton, who scored 19 points in the title game, and Grace Kroh, a powerful force under the basket rebounding and blocking shots.
EF's balanced lineup is paced by Kylie Owoc (14.0 points per game), Abigail Sporio (13.8), Allison Pastore (12.8), Olivia Barkley (11.7) and Natalie Fekula (11.5).
Bradford, which has won 15 consecutive games, is led by 5-5 senior guard Ali Rinfrette (13.7 ppg, 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists). Rylee Lundgren averages 8.3 ppg.
Bradford defeated Punxsutawney, 31-18, in the District 9 title game as Rinfrette scored 17 points.
EF coach Sam Kosanovich said he is more worried about what his team does than what Bradford brings.
“We just have to continue what we've done all year and do it better,” Kosanovich said. “You should always play championship basketball. They're all good teams in the playoffs this time of year. Everyone can compete and advance.”
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.