CENTERBURG — Sometimes you can come close in every statistic except the big one on the scoreboard.
The Fredericktown Freddies girls basketball team played up to the Mid-Buckeye Conference-leading Centerburg Trojans, but couldn’t narrow the gap as the Trojans won, 52-43.
The Freddies outrebounded the Trojans (39-32). They had more assists (5-4). They hit more shots (18-17). They fared better at the free-throw line (67 percent to 59 percent). And the two teams were virtually even in shooting percentage (both at 35 percent).
Where Centerburg (9-3, 7-0 MBC) won the game was in the turnover battle. They forced the Freddies into 21 turnovers, while committing only 12. That includes a 12-5 differential in the second half.
“When you turn the ball over, it doesn’t give you an opportunity to run your offense,” Fredericktown head coach Wes Elifritz said. “At the same time, it gives the other team really easy opportunities. Centerburg’s such a good team, that they take advantage of any opportunity that you give them.”
Fredericktown’s goal was to get the ball into the hands of their post players, Emily Williams and Hope Huvler. They and Tayler Carpenter, the lone senior, are all listed at 5-foot-10 or taller. Together, Williams and Huvler combined for 18 points and 26 boards.
“Our rebounding has been a strength for us,” Elifritz said. “(All our post players) finish the ball really well.”
The Freddies (5-7, 3-4 MBC) mixed in some three-point shooting to keep Centerburg off-balance. Although the Freddies saw a number of openings, they were able to connect on just one out of 11 attempts from the arc.
Centerburg plays like the clock is constantly about to run out. Junior Breanna Campbell took the ball coast to coast on a number of occasions, scoring on three attempts and drawing fouls on two more. Campbell ended the night with 13 points, tied with junior Mackenzie Stoyle for the lead.
“We have to make sure we don’t give them those fast break opportunities. That’s definitely a strength of theirs,” Elifritz said.
The Trojans’ fast breaks and full-court press were designed to wear out Fredericktown.