Frazier girls basketball team displaying plenty of heart
After the Frazier girls basketball team lost to West Greene in a WPIAL Class A preliminary-round playoff game last season, Commodores coach Shara Zupanc couldn't believe what she was hearing.
“We had just lost in the first round of the playoffs, and the girls wanted to have practice the next day,” Zupanc said. “And we did. That's when I fell in love with this team.”
The Commodores have been working hard since then in preparation for Monday's season opener against Bentworth.
Now in her second season, Zupanc said she believes her team is poised to improve on last season's 10 wins.
“I think last season went really well,” Zupanc said. “It was better than everybody expected. The season prior to that, Frazier only had one win.
“When I first got hired, everybody told me I was stepping into a hornet's next. I knew it was going to be really tough and challenging. But now, we have all that experience from spring training and playing in the summer and a fall league.
“We haven't taken too much time off, and I think it's going to reflect in our play this season.”
Frazier returns three starters: junior Lauren Timko and sophomores Jamie Muccioli and Cassidy Guiser. Muccioli will run the offense.
“She's my point guard,” Zupanc said. “As a freshman, she did a tremendous job. She already has that poise that I forget a lot of the time that she's only a sophomore. It kills her to miss a practice, and she leads by example. Being so young, that's kind of special.
“Honestly, most of the girls on the team are very tough and dedicated. That's why we were so successful last season.”
Juniors Lauren Somers and Kaley Barota likely will round out the starting lineup.
Zupanc said juniors Jessica Kulwicki, Morgan Massey and Hannah Kline should see a lot of playing time.
Frazier will compete in Section 4-A along with Clairton, Geibel, Monessen, Serra and Winchester Thurston.
“We're not settling for just good at this point,” Zupanc said. “Last year, we were kind of the underdogs, and not many people believed in us. There's people who still feel that way and don't think we can be competitive. We're flying under the radar, and that's fueling us.
“We're not settling for mediocre or good. We want to win the section and make it farther in the playoffs. When I first got to Frazier, I knew we had something special. When the kids wanted to practice after the last season was over instead of taking a break, I knew I was dealing with great character and heart.”
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.