HOUSTON – The Chartiers-Houston basketball team hosted the two boys’ WPIAL Class AA playoff preliminaries Saturday, and the Bucs split the game as girls knocked Frazier out in the opener while the boys fell to California.
Defense was the name of the game in a women’s contest when Chartiers-Houston held Frazier by five baskets in a 27-18 win.
In the men’s contest, California’s Nate O’Savage scored 11 of his game-high 27 points in the decisive fourth quarter to lead the Trojans to a 55-48 victory.
CH women’s coach Laura Montecalvo was impressed by Frazier’s defense.
“The Frazier defense is really holding us back, and we have a lot of young people having their first playoff experience,” he said.
“I give credit to Frazier, but that also makes us nervous. Overall, we defended and continued to play defensively. “
CH (10-6) used his height and length in defense to cause problems for Frazier (5-14), who had 19 turnovers while Bucs had 16 turnovers.
“We want to squeeze the keeper and keep the ball out of the post,” said Montecalvo.
Frazier played without starter for four years Kaelyn Shaporka and coach Winston Shaulis said his team missed him.
“She was absent on the pitch with her experience and leadership, but the girls struggled throughout the game,” he said. “I think we started, and played most of the game, with a great defensive effort.”
Baskets come at a premium price early with neither team making a single one in the first quarter.
Frazier led 3-1 after the first quarter and it was only after CH’s Dominique Mortimer shot the first three-pointer of possession in the second that sent both teams pitching the ball.
Trailing 7-3 early in the second half, Frazier raced 7-0 to take a 10-7 lead with 4:17 remaining. Molly Youch’s basket with 5:05 to play in the first half will be Frazier’s last field goal until Eliza Newcomer scores one goal with 1:39 time to play in the game.
The dryness lasted 19 minutes and 16 seconds.
CH closed the first half at 7-0 pace to take a 14-10 lead and hold an 18-12 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Mortimer leads the CH with eight points. Delaney Warnick gave Frazier seven points.
CH moved on to face third seed Winchester Thurston on Tuesday. It will be played on a neutral site to be determined Monday.
“It will be a difficult problem because they are very athletic and have a balanced score,” said Montecalvo. “They have a great experience, and we have to play a great defense and keep the basketball.”
O’Savage’s big fourth quarter led the Trojans to victory.
“He’s had a big game,” said California coach Aaron Balla. “We want him to attack the ring and reach the free throw line.
“We also attack from defense when we get back to one-on-one defense.”
There were 47 fouls committed in the game with three Bucs committing violations and two Trojans.
CH ruined his winning chances by taking just 16 of 28 free throws and coach Rich Tranquill said that was key to the result.
“If I had to point out one thing, it might be a foul shot for us because we only touched more than 50 percent,” he said. “We’re doing a great job getting to the line, and so far this year we’ve been pretty good.
“I thought we were attacking the edge and I think we did a good job attacking offensively.”
California made 18 of 29 free throws, and after CH’s Alijah Vaden shot to cut California’s lead to 49-45 with 1:01 remaining, the Trojans made six of their eight.
Most of the first half was played evenly but the California round late in the second gave the Trojans the lead.
With the score at 13-13, the Trojans continued to pace 10-2 to seal the first half to take a 23-15 lead.
Prior to running to California, no team had led by more than three points.
The California season started with the hopes of winning Class 2A Part 4, but the Trojans season was halted twice.
Balla said the win was better because of the chaos his team faced.
“We had great energy from the start, we came out more positively and discussed a few things in the last two practices,” he said. “We can still run.
“After all this season, they deserve this. This is a turning point with senior trust and leadership. “
Austin Arnold (18 points) and Vaden (13) added speed to the Bucs’ scoring.
“They have had great years and are great kids,” said Tranquill. “We will really miss them because they are key pieces of the puzzle and we will have to work hard to replace them. I am very proud of the team and they have improved a lot. “
The Trojans and their six seniors head to top seeds OLSH for Wednesday’s first-round match (6pm).
“I like playing my best and the kids too,” said Balla. When you compete against the best, you can see where you are as a team. “