FREDERICKTOWN — The new-look Fredericktown Freddies, led by freshman post player Hope Huvler (13 points, seven rebounds), pulled away in the second half to defeat visiting Mount Gilead, 50-41, to open the 2009-10 girls basketball season.
“We knew that Mount Gilead was going to come in strong,” said Fredericktown basketball coach Wes Elifritz. “They are a team that has played us well in the past. We knew they were going to play well on the defensive end. We knew they had a really quick point guard.”
Elifritz was referring to Ashley Ohler, who had five steals.
The young Freddies went toe-to-toe on defense against the Indians with junior post Devan Kennedy (four first-half rebounds) playing well in the early going.
“We told Devan all along, if she can play good, solid defense and rebound the basketball, it’s going to be hard to take her out,” said Elifritz. “Offensively, she is still a work in progress. She’s doing a much better job of getting inside position. She was up against a pretty good post player [Mount Gilead’s Jessie Baldridge, who led the Indians with 13 points.]”
Freshman guard Kayla Casto, who added 10 points for the Freddies, hit a pair of 3-pointers to keep the Freddies on top.
“Kayla didn’t do a whole lot in the preseason, but she came off the bench midway through the first and hit a jump shot, two big 3s and another jumper to help catapult us to take the lead that we ended up keeping,” said Elifritz.
Clinging to a 26-25 lead midway through the third quarter, Freddies’ guard Lyndsay Briegel (four points, four rebounds, two steals) hit a jumper. Her sister, Courtney, the Freddies’ only senior, followed with a 3-pointer. The Freddies got another 3 from another Courtney, freshman guard Courtney Jackson (seven points, two steals), who upped the Freddies lead to 35-27.
“We switched to a man-to-man and that seemed to give us energy on both ends of the floor,” said Elifritz. “We brought Courtney Briegel back off the bench in the third and she hit a 3. Courtney Jackson hit one. We were able to hit those shots when we needed them.”
The two Courtneys hit back-to-back buckets to start out the fourth quarter, giving the Freddies their biggest lead of the game, 41-29.
“It was definitely a team effort tonight,” said Elifritz. “We had a lot of girls step up and hit some big shots tonight when we needed them to. Every time Mount Gilead seemed to whittle our lead down, we would hit a couple of big shots, back-to-back, to kind of balloon that lead back up. We want to be the kind of team where it’s anyone’s chance to step up and make a big shot. We made the plays when we needed to, and that allowed us to pull it out tonight.”