Frazier boys basketball team adjusts on fly to changes
Followers of Frazier's boys basketball team are going to need a few games to adjust this season.
Not only will the Commodores compete in a revamped Section 5-AA, but they will do so with just one returning starter.
Junior Charlie Manack is the lone starter back from last year's team, which finished 15-8 overall and 9-3 in section play.
Frazier defeated Riverview in a preliminary-round playoff game before losing to Shady Side Academy, 71-64.
“It's going to be interesting,” Frazier coach Ed Keebler said. “We lost Jeannette and Greensburg Central Catholic, but we picked up Jefferson-Morgan, Bentworth and West Greene. It will be kind of interesting to see what happens.”
Section 5-AA comprises Bentworth, Beth-Center, Brownsville, California, Charleroi, Jefferson-Morgan, West Greene and Frazier.
The Commodores will try to build around Manack, who will start at forward.
“He knows his position plus the other four … where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to be doing,” Keebler said. “He calls out screens on offense and defense. Charlie's a good role model for the rest of the team.”
Because he brings experience, Manack is sure to see plenty of touches.
“I think there will probably be (a lot of pressure on him),” Keebler said. “I'll try to not intentionally put pressure on him, but I'm sure I'll lean on him and the rest of the kids will also lean on him.”
Keebler is looking at several players to fill the starting lineup, including seniors Zach Falki, Jared Rebovich, Paul Pellick and Viny Pucci.
Falki will see time at forward, while Keebler expects Rebovich, Pellick and Pucci to play guard.
“Zach knows his role,” Keebler said. “He rebounds well. None of these kids are superstars, but they may play well together and push each other. They played last year but not enough to letter. They're coming around, and they're practicing and putting the time in.”
Also expected to compete for playing time are juniors Roger Cline and Zach Poling. Cline is likely to get minutes at guard, while Poling will play at forward.
For now, Keebler said his team isn't focused on who's going to score but rather on how to keep opponents from scoring.
“We're putting the pressure on the defense,” Keebler said. “We only want to allow the offense one shot. We've been practicing hitting the boards and boxing out and not giving offenses multiple chances to score on us.”
So far, Keebler's fifth season as coach is very different from years past.
“I kind of enjoy it,” Keebler said. “I think this is the first year I've only had one starter back. It is what it is. The kids are fighting hard for the starting positions because they know there's four of them out there.”
Frazier opens the season with a home exhibition game against Geibel on Friday.
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.