FREDERICKTOWN — Tied at halftime in a game they needed to clinch a share of the Mid-Buckeye Conference crown, the Fredericktown Freddies were in no mood to continue the battle with visiting Johnstown. The Freddies used a strong third quarter to open up a lead, then piled it on in the fourth to roll to a 52-36 victory over the Johnnies.
The win clinched at least a share of the MBC for the Freddies for the first time since 2007.
“It was one of the goals we set at the start of the season. We wanted to be in position for a league championship. I’m proud of the kids. They’ve earned it,” said Fredericktown coach Kirk Manns.
The two teams battled throughout the first half with neither taking more than a two-point lead. The Freddies (13-4 overall, 11-1 MBC) struggled to put anything together offensively in the second quarter, making just 1 of 6 shots from the field. But, four free throws from Rashad Boyd and a solid defensive effort that allowed Johnstown (5-12, 2-10) just eight points in the quarter kept the Freddies alive.
“We missed a lot of easy shots in the first half. We missed eight point-blank shots and six of those were uncontested layups. It was senior night tonight, so there some nerves tonight,” Manns said. “We knew were going to get their (Johnstown) best shot and we did. Fortunately, we were able to get stronger as the game wore on.”
On a night honoring the seniors, it was a sophomore that provided the big boost for the Freddies in the third quarter. Ryan Logan hit four straight buckets as Fredericktown pushed the lead to six points after three.
“We seemed to get stronger as the game went on tonight. We got into a good flow offensively,” said Manns. “Ryan Logan had a big third quarter and then Max Miller had a big fourth quarter. He hit some key shots that really made it tough for Johnstown to come back. We got some big contributions tonight.”
Miller, a junior, caught fire in the fourth, scoring 10 of his team-high 12 points in the period. Two of those buckets were back-breaking 3-pointers.
It was the defense that fueled the fire for the Freddies in the second half. Johnstown managed just 13 shots in the second half, turning the ball over nine times.