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Sports

Lady Commodores clip Beth-Center

| Friday, Jan. 18, 2002

If the Frazier girls basketball team makes the WPIAL playoffs this season, the Lady Commodores will look back on last night's game as a key to their success.

Trailing for most of the game, the Frazier girls stormed back late and found a way to post a 36-32 victory over visiting Beth-Center 36-32.

"This was a big game," Frazier coach Chris Lucovitz said. "This puts us still in the playoff hunt."

The win vaults the Lady Commodores (3-5, 8-9) past the Lady Bulldogs (2-5, 4-10) in Section 5-AA.

The teams are extremely close in the standings, so it was no surprise that the game was tight the whole way through.

In the early going, the Lady Commodores got out in front as Rachael Hughes hit four points and Rachel Sparinga knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 7-2. Hughes finished with a game-high 16 points while Sparinga was close behind with 13.

But Frazier couldn't run away with it as Samantha Slagle canned three baskets for six points. Slagle led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 points and her effort in the first allowed Beth-Center to take an 11-10 lead. Brittany Cole also added a basket and finished with 10 points.

In the second quarter, the game stayed close with three lead changes. Four Beth-Center players hit a basket, but Ashley Godla, Hughes and Sparinga each scored for Frazier. And at the half, Beth-Center held a slim 19-17 lead.

During the third quarter, the Lady Bulldogs did their best to run away with it. Slagle hit a trey as Beth-Center managed to build a 26-19 lead.

Meanwhile, the Lady Commodores were having trouble getting penetration to the basket. But Amy Barber and Sparinga each scrapped their way to a bucket, and as time expired in the quarter, Hughes pulled up and drained a long-range 3-pointer to make it a 26-24 game.

"We showed a lot of heart and determination," Lucovitz said.

Indeed, the Lady Commodores saved their best for last as the final eight minutes proved to be their best both offensively and defensively. But wrestling the lead off of Beth-Center was anything but easy.

On two occasions in the fourth, Beth-Center found a way to grab a four-point lead. But each time the Lady Bulldogs tried to distance themselves from the home team, the Lady Commodores responded.

Trailing 30-26, Jessica Stahl hit a turnaround shot and was fouled to complete the three-point play and pull Frazier to within one at 30-29.

Then a few minutes later, Sparinga hit a pair of foul shots to give Frazier a 31-30 lead. But Beth-Center bounced back to take a 32-31 edge. Hughes hit a foul shot to tie it at 32-32.

With a minute left, Sparinga scored to make it 34-32.

"Hughes and Sparinga are clutch players," Lucovitz said. "I think they thought we would go to Hughes, but we went to Sparinga."

Then, Sparinga made a clutch steal at the other end of the court. She closed the game with a breakaway lay-up as time expired.

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