CENTERBURG — The Centerburg girls basketball team set the tone for Thursday’s game with Fredericktown on the opening tip.
The Trojans won the opening tip and senior Michelle Crego drained a 3-pointer less than 10 seconds into the game. The Trojans never looked back, beating Fredericktown, 49-25, in Mid-Buckeye Conference action.
“I was really pleased Michelle got us off to a good start. We found the open shot off the tip and got a three,” Nauman said. “But, then we went four minutes without any offense. That’s just not acceptable. We’ve got to be way more efficient with the basketball if we want to win any ballgames throughout the rest of the season and the postseason.”
Centerburg (8-5 overall, 5-3 MBC) pushed the lead to 9-2 just three minutes into the game, but then went into an offensive funk for the rest of the quarter. Fredericktown (7-7, 4-5) was able to get a couple of baskets before Centerburg’s Tristen Simpson scored with 21 seconds left to break the funk.
Crego drained another 3 to start the second quarter, then Claire Harvey took over for the Trojans. The sophomore hit two 3s and another bucket in a 10-2 Centerburg run that effectively blew the game open.
“I thought we had a couple of nice days of practice and the girls seemed focused before the game. I really can’t do anything but give Centerburg credit. Offensively and defensively, they were in control,” said Fredericktown coach Wes Elifritz. “We struggled to get good looks. ... We knew it was going to be a battle. I didn’t expect us to give up as many easy looks defensively. But, I think this game really shows us what we need to work on.
“Harvey came out and hit some really big shots. I told her she’s been the Freddie killer this year.”
“The nice thing about Claire is she’s capable any night,” said Nauman. “She consistently finds a way to contribute on the offensive end no matter what. Tonight, they were giving her the outside shot and she nails five 3s for us.”
The Trojans used a balanced offensive attack the rest of the way, pulling out to a lead of as many as 26 points. Nine Trojans dented the scoreboard, led by Harvey’s 17.
“We have depth. When the kids come off the bench are contributing and they are playing their seven or eight against our 12, they get tired,” Nauman said. “I felt we got some good play out of everybody. Nine kids are in the scoring column.”
Crego added seven points for Centerburg, while Mackenzie Stoyle had six points, six rebounds and six assists.
Fredericktown was led by Courtney Briegel, who scored 10 points. Lyndsay Briegel added five points and three assists, while Jess Gable had five points.
“We’ve struggled getting off to slow starts. I don’t know what it is. We’ve gotten good looks. I just continue to preach confidence to the girls. I want them to understand they have the green light, if they have a shot. They’ve got to be able to finish those shots. Unfortunately, we don’t get any points for getting great shots,” Elifritz said. “We battled in that first quarter pretty well. But, after that Centerburg seemed to be getting great looks and they knocked them down and we didn’t. That’s a big part of playing basketball. You’ve got to be able to make the shots you get. That’s something we’ve been struggling with and we’ll continue to work on doing.”
The teams return to action Saturday. Centerburg hosts Northridge at 1 p.m., while Fredericktown hosts Danville at 1 p.m.
Centerburg also won the junior varsity game, 40-28.
Mikaela Weldy led the Trojans with 10 points. Haley Bramer added nine and Macy Michel eight.
Fredericktown was led by Lisa Earnest, who had nine points. Anna Gaddis, Cassie Simpson and Taran Carpenter all had four.