FREDERICKTOWN — They may not be in the same conference, but whenever the Clear Fork Colts and Fredericktown Freddies match up, things heat up.
Wednesday was no exception as the host Freddies got a leg up on their backyard rival and managed to hold off a late surge to preserve a 44-42 win.
“I’m learning quickly that anytime Fredericktown plays certain teams, it’s going to be a tough game like this. Clear Fork is no different,” said Fredericktown coach Wes Elifritz. “They came out — I know they’ve been playing a lot better lately — and they were ready to battle.”
Guard Lyndsay Briegel (7-of-10 field goals, 19 points) jump-started the Freddies after a dismal first quarter for both teams. With the Freddies down 2-1 to start the second quarter, the junior hit a 3-pointer and another bucket to get her team the lead. She turned the trick again before halftime to put the Freddies ahead, 15-7.
“Each time I shot, I thought it wasn’t going in at all, but it seemed that it was going in enough that I thought, ‘I’m just going to shoot it,’ and it went in,” said Lyndsay Briegel. “So I shot with confidence and had a great game.”
It was Lyndsay Briegel with another 2-3 combination to stretch the Freddies’ lead to 10 points, 20-10. Fredericktown junior post Devan Kennedy (two points, four rebounds) and teammate Jessica Gable (six points, two rebounds, two steals) traded buckets with Clear Fork’s Michele Layne (14 points, 5-of-7 fg, 4 rebounds) to hold the lead.
Still up 26-17, Lyndsay Briegel was knocked down in a struggle for the ball and had to be removed from the game.
“This girl clipped my forehead,” said Lyndsay Briegel. “I couldn’t see for a split second. I was going to stay in, but the coach took me out.”
Monique Wilson (five points, four rebounds) hit a bucket for Clear Fork and converted on the foul by Fredericktown’s Tayler Carpenter (three points, two rebounds) to close the lead to 26-20. That’s when the rest of the Freddies stepped up.
“I was very proud of them,” said Lyndsay Briegel. “It has to be a team effort.”
Hope Huvler grabbed on offensive rebound and posted up for a quick bucket in the closing seconds of the third quarter. She was followed by senior Courtney Briegel (six points, three rebounds), whose first points of the game put the Freddies’ lead back up to 10, 30-20.
“(The Colts) played a box-in-one on Courtney in the first and second quarters, so I knew I had to step my game up,” said Lyndsay Briegel.”
Even the return of the younger Briegel to the game couldn’t stop the Colts from climbing back into the contest. A jumper by Broegan Sautter (three points) and a Jenna Jones (six points) bucket were followed by Taylor Long’s lone basket, which came off a great inbound pass by Jones. That sliced the Freddies’ lead to four, 36-32, midway through the final period.
“We didn’t handle (Clear Fork’s) press well at times,” said Elifritz. “They hit some really tough shots.”
A 3-pointer by Layne, with 2:25 to go, kept the Colts within four. Foul shots by Layne and Wilson brought the Colts to within one point, 38-37, with 40 seconds to go. The Freddies got a break when Courtney Briegel drew a foul and hit 1-of-2 free throws. Seconds later, Layne fouled out and Gable converted on one of her free throws to give the Freddies a 42-37 lead.
Even a last-second 3-pointer by Jones wasn’t enough as the Freddies hit the free throws when they really needed them. Fredericktown finished 15-of-24 from the free-throw line, while Clear Fork was only 9-of-14.
“I was really proud of our ability to knock down some free throws near the end of the game that really sealed the deal,” said Elifritz. “Kayla Casto made two free throws at the end, (Clear Fork) banks in a 3 and we win by two, so those free throws ended up being the game-winner for us. We knew it would be physical. It came down to free throws and we hit them when we needed to.”
In the jayvee game, Valerie Yarger scored 12 points to lead the Colts over the Freddies, 32-15. Lisa Earnest had 13 for the Freddies.