FREDERICKTOWN — The tone was set on the opening tip Saturday — Centerburg came ready to play.
The Trojans scored just three seconds into their game with host Fredericktown and went on to a 45-26 victory in Mid-Buckeye Conference girls basketball action.
“To score on the first possession, then get a five-second count on them is a great way to start the game,” Centerburg coach Todd Nauman said. “These kids work really hard. We just didn’t start the first two games the way we expected to play. Today was a much needed reward for the players and the head coach. I needed this as badly as they did.”
The Trojans (1-2 overall, 1-1 MBC) started the game on fire, as they controlled the tip, and scored on a layup by Breanna Campbell just three seconds into the contest. Their defense then forced a turnover as they kept Fredericktown from getting the ball inbounds on its first possession and it looked like they were going to run away and hide. Centerburg got eight points from sophomore Claire Harvey in the quarter and pushed the lead to 16-9.
But, Fredericktown (2-1, 1-1) wasn’t quite ready to go home.
The Freddies clamped down on the Centerburg offense in the second quarter, allowing just one basket, a two-pointer from Angie Beekman. Meanwhile, they were able to score seven points in the quarter to pull within two at halftime, 18-16.
Things changed back in Centerburg’s favor early in the third quarter. The Trojans got five more from Harvey, a long 3-pointer from Carolyn Moore as time was winding down and allowed the Freddies just three points on 1-of-11 shooting in the quarter as they pushed the lead back up to 13 points.
“We were able to control things more the way we wanted to today,” Nauman said. “We were able to be effective today with our defense. We were able to keep the ball in front of us and we were able to trap the ball and it turned out good for us.”
“Give Centerburg credit on how well they played,” Fredericktown coach Wes Elifritz said. “But, offensively, it wasn’t really anything Centerburg did. Seems like we couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean today. I thought we got some good looks, whether it was in the low post or outside with one of our guards and we just couldn’t seem to knock that shot down. Combine that with them being able to execute their offense better and then a tight game turns into a big lead for them. When you score three points coming out of halftime, it’s hard to sustain a sense of a good game.”
The Trojans were able to make enough free throws in the final quarter to put the game on ice and pick up their first victory of the season.
Along with their defense, one of the keys for the Trojans was their offensive rebounding. They collected 15 offensive boards on the day, much to the dismay of Elifritz.
“We gave up 15 offensive rebounds. That always hurts. We’ve worked on our free-throw boxing out. We’ll keep working every day,” he said. “I believe in our system, but at the same time, we’ve got to keep on working getting better taking care of the basketball.”
Harvey finished the night with four 3-pointers and 17 points to lead the Trojans. Campbell added 12 points and three assists, while Tristen Simpson had four points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Fredericktown was led by Courtney Briegel, who had 11 points. Brittany Jones added seven points, Hope Huvler had six. Devan Kennedy pulled down seven rebounds to lead the team, while Lyndsay Briegel handed out three assists.
Fredericktown returns to action Thursday at Mansfield Christian, and Centerburg will play an MBC contest at Northridge on Saturday.