Franklin Regional girls relying on underclassmen early on

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Friday, December 27, 2019 | 6:02 PM


Franklin Regional’s girls basketball team is one of the youngest in Class 5A, if not the WPIAL.

There is only one senior — 5-foot-6 forward Noelle Boyd — on the Panthers’ team roster, which has been flooded by a large group of freshman athletes in 2019-20.

“Our expectations for this year are to make the playoffs and continue to grow as a team,” coach Anthony Kobus said. “We are very young with 10 freshmen.”

Rounding out the squad are four juniors and three sophomores.

Along with Boyd, Kobus anticipates having sizable contributions from several other players, including junior guards Maria Brush and Angel Kelly, sophomore guard Sydney Lindeman, sophomore guard/forward Sydney Breitkreutz, as well as Kathryn Nardo, a 5-10 junior forward who is the team’s tallest player.

Junior forward Taylor Lineburg and sophomore guard Caroline Tragesser are reserves.

Brush and Kelly had some big early season games for the Panthers, with Brush scoring 20 points against Greensburg Central Catholic and Kelly netting 15 versus Gateway.

Franklin Regional, a member of Section 2-5A, started out with back-to-back wins Dec. 6-7 in the Fayette County Coaches Tournament. The Panthers routed Laurel Highlands, 60-15, and cruised past Greensburg Central Catholic, 58-34.

They lost their next four, including a tough 47-43 section defeat at Plum and a tight 48-47 loss at Obama Academy.

The FR girls return to section action Jan. 2 at home against Mars, followed by an away game at Armstrong.

Franklin Regional finished second behind Gateway last season with a 10-2 record in the section. The Panthers defeated South Fayette, 46-35, in the WPIAL first round, then lost a 55-43 decision to Penn Hills in the quarterfinals.

Franklin Regional lost five seniors to graduation from last year’s squad, including guards Cali Konek and Kaitlyn Carr, and forwards in Courtney Giles, Jordan Yaniga and Alex Reitz.

“All five were key contributors to last year’s team,” said Kobus, who is in his second season as the Panthers’ coach.

Konek is a freshman guard for Charlotte. She played at four different schools in her scholastic career, was an all-state selection, and averaged 16.8 points for FR last season.

Franklin Regional ended up 17-7 in 2018-19 after losing just once in the month of January and going on an 11-1 tear from Dec. 29 to Feb. 4.

Freshman prospects this year include guard/forward Sydney Jackson, guards Brooke Schimer, Sarah Penrod, Christina Putignano, Chelsea Pollitt, Avery Musto and Sarah Holt, plus forwards Leelyn Banks, Sophia Yaniga and Alexa Patberg.

The FR girls participated in a holiday tournament Dec. 27-28 at Penn-Trafford, along with Norwin, McKeesport and the Warriors.

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