WPIAL playoff spot remains in reach for Franklin Regional girls basketball team

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Friday, January 24, 2020 | 5:27 PM


“Young” is the word encircling the Franklin Regional girls basketball program this season.

The Panthers ended the first half of section play the way they started the season — with back-to-back wins.

With 13 underclassmen on the roster, Franklin Regional defeated Hampton, 47-36, and Kiski Area, 45-27, to climb to 2-5 in Section 2-5A and improve to 4-8 overall.

“Considering how young we are, the team is playing hard and getting better week by week,” Anthony Kobus, Franklin Regional’s second-year coach, said. “We have had the lead in just about every game that we have played other than (against) two (Class) 6A teams. We have lost some very close games.

“We only have three girls with varsity experience and no starters returning from last year’s team, so we are getting better each week.”

Franklin Regional has just one senior: Noelle Boyd, a 5-foot-6 forward. Boyd is a first-year starter and third-year letterwinner.

“My goal this year was to be a leader on the court,” Boyd said. “I am very aggressive and competitive, and it motivates the girls.”

Boyd is a standout lacrosse player and will be a fourth-year starting midfielder this spring. She earned all-section and All-WPIAL honors as a sophomore and junior and was named to the Western Pennsylvania national team last season.

Boyd is an Akron recruit and plans to pursue a career in the dentistry field. Akron is a member of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference.

There also are four juniors and three sophomores in the Franklin Regional hoops program.

The Panthers’ starting lineup consists of Boyd, junior guards Maria Brush and Angel Kelly, sophomore guard Sydney Lindeman and sophomore guard/forward Sydney Brieitkreutz

Top reserves include 5-10 junior forward Kathryn Nardo, freshman guards Brooke Schirmer and Sara Penrod, and freshman forward Sophia Yaniga.

Rounding out the team are junior forward Taylor Lineburg, sophomore guard Caroline Tragesser, and freshmen Christina Putignano, Chelsea Pollitt, Avery Musto, Sarah Holt, Leelyn Banks, Alexa Patberg and Sydney Jackson.

“This group has toughness, and they are really aggressive,” Kobus said. “The thing we lack is consistency in our shooting. We spend time on shooting every day, but in the offseason, we need to get in the gym and shoot as much as possible.”

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.

One of the Panthers’ goals is to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs. Plum, Mars and Gateway are battling for the top spots in the section, leaving Armstrong, Hampton and Franklin Regional to fight it out for fourth place.

“We can still make the playoffs,” Kobus said. “A lot of things need to happen. But we need to concentrate on us and what we have to do each week.

“We have had some tough losses. We were up 15 at Plum and had three starters foul out and lost by four. We lost in the last seconds to Armstrong, so we are right there. We just need to be more consistent.”

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