Ups and downs
The Frazier girls basketball team may occasionally come up a little short this season -- literally.
Lady Commodores coach Les Martini said his girls have several strengths heading into the 2006-07 campaign, but height isn't one of them.
"We still don't have height, but we have a little bit of speed with the younger kids," he said. "(The seniors) are working well together because they've been together since seventh or eighth grade."
Of Frazier's six seniors, Martini said four -- Rachele Sanschagrin, Kenzie Furlong, Meghan Leary and Kristen Joseph -- have been with the program from a young age. Jamie Bissett is in her second year with the team, and Nicole Sigwalt is a newcomer who transferred from Connellsville.
Martini said expectations are high for the seniors, particularly for the four veterans. They'll be expected to step in and provide leadership, especially considering the team's large group of underclassmen. The Lady Commodores' roster boasts only one junior (Brittany Fisher) and one sophomore (Maria Marshall). Seven team members are freshmen.
Added to the youthful roster is the fact that Frazier lost three starters from last year's team, including point guard Larissa Kulikoski. But Martini said Kulikoski has come back to help out the team by coaching the current crop of potential point guards. And so far, he said, the freshmen are showing some talent and the team has exhibited an excellent attitude.
"The younger girls are pushing (the seniors) pretty hard," Martini said. "We have a happy-go-lucky team this year. They have a good attitude, and they're working hard."
The Lady Commodores have dropped into Class A this season, but Martini said they'll face tough competition there. Section 3-A encompasses teams which Martini said he hasn't seen but knows by reputation, such as Serra Catholic and Monessen. But he said he believes Frazier can give those teams a good game.
"I think we're going to come in the gym, and the team's going to know we were there," he said.
Martini stressed the importance of teamwork, and several of his seniors said that's one of their goals as well.
"I want us to play hard, be better than last year's team, and have better chemistry on the court," Joseph said.
Sanschagrin added that the Lady Commodores need to believe in themselves.
"I don't want us to give up if we're losing," she said. "We know we can win, and we know we're better than a lot of those teams think we are."