After his Northmor team fell twice to Fredericktown in the regular season, girls’ head coach Daryl Uhde didn’t want the same fate to befall his team in their sectional opener Tuesday night.
The Knights got out to a fast start in the game and then were able to fight off multiple Freddie attempts to surge ahead in taking a 54-46 decision over their league rivals.
“They fight,” said Uhde of Fredericktown. “They’d beaten us twice, but we played a complete game. Everyone did well.”
Northmor especially did well in the early going. They took an early 3-2 lead on a Maddie Swihart three-pointer and then added to that lead over most of the opening period. Karalee Patterson connected from long range, Lydia Farley hit two field goals and Brooke Bennett added a basket, as Northmor jumped in front by a 12-2 margin late in the first quarter.
“Last time against them, we were down big,” said Uhde. “We started strong and we managed to break their press pretty easily for the most part.”
It wouldn’t be an easy win for the Knights, though, as Fredericktown battled back to get wihtin a 14-11 margin by the end of the quarter. Two free throws by Brittney Ehret to open the second brought them within a one-point margin. However, they would not be able to get over the hump.
The Knights responded with a three-pointer by Swihart and basket from Bennett to jump back out to a 19-13 advantage and they would be able to maintain a lead the rest of the half, going into the locker room with a 27-22 advantage.
In the third quarter, the Freddies struck first again, getting a basket by Sandra Spearman to get within three, but Northmor tallied six straight — four by Patterson — to jump in front 33-24. Patterson would wind up with eight points in the quarter, as the Knights took a 39-32 lead into the final eight minutes.
The Freddies made a final rally in the fourth, opening the quarter with a 8-4 run to get within a 43-40 margin with just over two minutes remaining in the game. Northmor would be able to ice the game from the foul line, though. They hit all nine of their free throw attempts in the final two minutes and were 11-of-12 in the period. Swihart mustered five of those makes and Patterson added four.
“That’s what we didn’t do the last time we played them,” Uhde said of his team’s clutch free throw shooting.
The Northmor coach noted that his team played strong defense in the game and also was able to hit shots when they needed to in order to stop Fredericktown’s momentum.
“Defense won the game,” he said. “We sagged back and made them shoot threes. They’d get back within two or three and we’d hit a big shot. I’m glad we won on our home court — it’s the last time playing here for our seniors.”
Two of those seniors tallied 34 of Northmor’s 54 points, as Patterson finished with 21 and Swihart dropped in 13. Next up for the Knights will be a tough road contest against North Union, the third-seeded team in the Central District. Uhde noted that the Wildcats have a 6’5” post player to go with some strong guards, making them a tough squad to match up against.
“Hopefully, our speed can help us,” he said. “We can’t let their big girl score at will and we have to shoot like we have been all year.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS