WESTERVILLE — The Fredericktown Freddies learned the meaning of a pressure cooker on Thursday night against the Marion Pleasant Spartans.
The Spartans, displaying a full-court pressure defense from the start, grabbed 22 steals and converted them into points and defeated the Freddies, 47-17, in a Division III sectional final at Westerville North High School. Fredericktown finished with more turnovers (32) than shots from the field (22).
“(They press) and we knew that’s what they do, but it is hard to simulate it,” said Fredericktown coach Dave Logan. “They are that good because they do it all the time. It is a great advantage for them; they are a really good team. I knew we could keep them under 50 (points), but I didn’t know if we could get to 25 (points), and we didn’t. They deserve a lot of credit. They did a lot of good things.”
Pleasant scored the first two buckets of the game, but was held down over the next three minutes by Fredericktown’s defense. A jumper by Lyndsay Briegel got the Freddies on the board with 2:37 to go in the first quarter, but the Spartans closed with seven straight points, including a three-point play at the buzzer, and led, 10-2, after one.
That run carried over into the second quarter as Pleasant scored the first seven points and went up, 17-2, with 3:56 on the clock. Fredericktown finally got something going with just over two minutes to play. A putback by Devan Kennedy and a pair of 3-pointers by Courtney Briegel spurred a 8-1 run, and cut the lead to eight with 29 seconds to go. Chelsea Hilsher scored her second bucket of the quarter with two left, and the Spartans led, 20-10, at the halftime break.
“I thought we did a good job defensively,” said coach Logan. “We just tried to keep them from getting easy baskets under the basket, and we did a pretty decent job. They share the ball well, and they are unselfish. That makes them hard to defend.
“This is the first time in 10 years where I knew we would have to do everything perfect to win,” added coach Logan. “I just wanted us to put up a fight, and we didn’t do that in the first quarter and a half.”
Fredericktown fought hard in the second half, but couldn’t find a way to get any offense going. Pleasant outscored the Freddies, 11-2, in the third quarter to take control of the game, 31-12, after three. Brittany Jones had the Freddies’ only bucket.
Fredericktown senior Mackenzie Logan, who had just one shot attempt in the first three quarters, finally got on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter. She scored a layup off a pass from Adria Troyer to offset a Pleasant basket.
“(Mackenzie) doesn’t always look to score like she needs to. That’s just not who she is,” coach Logan said. “I’ve been begging and begging and she is not going to do it. A couple of shots she did get off looked pretty good. One of them I thought was going in, but it didn’t.”
The Spartans outscored Fredericktown, 14-3, down the stretch to end the game with the 30-point advantage. The Freddies’ points came from the free-throw line — two by Courtney Briegel and one by Logan.
“Their quickness was impressive; they really forced us to the left,” said coach Logan. “They really didn’t give us any easy baskets. The couple of easy
baskets we got came from other kids when they were closing in on Mackenzie. They were sealed down on the post, and we got some easy baskets, but we didn’t get enough of them.”
Courtney Briegel had six points to lead Fredericktown. Logan ended her Fredericktown career with a game-high seven rebounds, a team-high four steals, three points and one block; and Kennedy had two points, four rebounds and an assist and a block.
“She is a good player because she is a good team player,” said coach Logan of his daughter. “We couldn’t have held them under 50 without her playing in the middle. She is hard to get around. They all did a good job.
“(Mackenzie) had a great career. She has played more games than anybody has ever played at Fredericktown High School, and she is tied with last year’s seniors with most wins. She should be proud of what she has been able to accomplish.”
With the win, Pleasant, who was led by Julie Rice’s nine points, advances to face Grandview Heights in the district semifinal on Wednesday at Olentangy Liberty High School. Ashley Andrew added seven points and six steals; Darian Hempy had seven points, three rebounds, two steals and four assists; and Amy Daniels finished with six points, four rebounds and five steals.
Game time for the district semifinal is 6:15 p.m.