FREDERICKTOWN — Perhaps two of the best, young, girls’ basketball teams in the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference squared off, when the Fredericktown Freddies (0-1, 0-1 KMAC) hosted the Northmor Golden Knights (1-2, 1-0 KMAC) in their league opener Wednesday evening. The Freddies, down 49-41 with 54 seconds to play, fought back to make it a one-possession game with 13 seconds remaining, before the Knights finally beat them, 51-47.
“We had a chance there at the end,” said Fredericktown coach Tim Maceyko. “We’ve been fighting hard in practice, battling and getting to be aggressive and they’re doing it. I’m really happy with them.”
The Freddies got off to a strong start, jumping out to a 13-3 lead and dominating the boards. Sophomore Jacklyn Nussbaum lead the way for Fredericktown, landing a 3-pointer, a 2-pointer and then recording an assist on a bucket by teammate Tayler Overholt. Nussbaum led all scorers with 17 points in the game. Overholt had eight for the Freddies, along with teammate Olivia Mast.
The Freddies stumbled in the second quarter, only managing two rebounds — both by Nussbaum. The Knights grabbed eight second quarter rebounds, including three off the offensive glass. The first of those resulted in a putback by Northmor to tie the score at 13.
“We work really hard on the defense,” said Northmor coach Freddie Beachy. “We’re not really tall, so we work hard on the steals. Our tallest girl is 5-foot-9, so we aren’t going to beat anybody on the boards.”
That 5-9 player is Northmor freshman Lexi Wenger, who scored twice midway through the second quarter. Teammate Reagan Swihart (eight points) followed with three more buckets, lifting the Knights to a 25-14 second-quarter advantage.
“That second quarter was the difference-maker,” Maceyko said. “We were rotating a lot of kids in, trying to get some run-and-gun action.”
The Freddies got it back in gear in the second half, getting the edge on the boards once again. Fredericktown grabbed 30 for the game (17 in the second half), compared to Northmor’s total of 27. About midway through the third quarter, Fredericktown got a bucket from Nussbaum, followed by a pair of 3-pointers from teammate Summer Weller (seven points) and another 3-pointer from Mast, which put Fredericktown on top, 34-33, but only for a few seconds. Wenger scored and then Juliana Ditullio landed a 3 for the Knights to give their team a 38-34 lead after three quarters.
“At halftime we made some adjustments and tried to pair down some of our rotations,” Maceyko said. “We got some of our better shooters in there. The other team was tired. It was working, but I think we were getting tired, too. We just don’t have enough depth.”
Northmor got a basket from Wenger and two more buckets and three free throws from Addie Farley to put the Knights ahead 49-41. Both girls led the Knights with 15 points.
With under a minute left in the game, Mast missed the back half of a pair of free throws, but Nussbaum got the rebound and scored. The Freddies had nine rebounds in the final quarter, including four offensive rebounds.
On their next possession, the Freddies got another 3-pointer from Mast on an inbound play, shrinking the Knights’ lead to, 50-47. Northmor, who shot 9-for-19 from the free throw line down the stretch, finally finished off the Freddies, running down the clock.
The Knights will host Danville Saturday, while the Freddies will host Mount Gilead. Both games are scheduled for 2 p.m.