FREDERICKTOWN — Tough defense that led to early offense in the first half gave visiting Clear Fork a 46-31 lead at the break over the Fredericktown Freddies and the Colts went on to win 81-62.
“We just didn’t play hard,” Fredericktown coach Derek Dibling said. “We played right into their pressure and made it easy for them.”
The Colts came flying out of the gates, hanging up 20 points in less than seven minutes and the Freddies were down 20-9 with 1:22 to go in the first, despite seven early points from Jake Partington. Fredericktown managed to notch five-straight points to close out the quarter to head into the second only down six (20-14).
In the second quarter, the Clear Fork defense really clamped down and led to some open shots on the other end of the floor. The visitors racked up five 3-pointers in the second quarter, led by three from Brennan South, who had 11 points in the period. Clear Fork amassed 26 points in the second. Thanks to seven points from Clem Cunningham, Fredericktown upped its scoring output to 17 points, but still went into the locker room down 46-31.
Nick Cunningham caught fire in the third quarter, pouring in 12 points in the stanza, but the rest of his teammates only combined for two points to hang 14 in the period. Clear Fork also had 14 in the third to keep the margin at 15 heading into the final quarter.
The Freddies went down swinging. After having a chance to cut the lead to 10 in the third quarter, they did that and more in the fourth. A Thomas Caputo bucket trimmed the lead to 62-54 with 4:45 to go in the contest, but that was as close as Fredericktown got. A Nick Cunningham three set the deficit at 10 (72-62) with 2:12 to go, but then it was all Clear Fork. The Colts closed the game on a 9-0 run.
“I think at the end of the day, execution,” Dibling said of why the Freddies could never get closer late in the game. “Hats off. They played harder than we did. For whatever reason, we just seemed a little flat.”
Nick Cunningham paced the Freddies with 25 points, 23 of which came in the second half. He also had two rebounds, an assist and two steals.
“He’s going to fight. Whether we’re up 100 or down 100, he’s going to fight until the end,” Dibling said. “He got some buckets late, he just had to work too hard for them. We just couldn’t get any kind of flow.”
Partington reached double figures with 11 points, three boards and an assist. Lincoln Cunningham had eight points, while Clem Cunningham added seven and five boards and five assists. Terry Fearn finished the night with six points, eight rebounds, a dime, a steal and a block. Conner Zolman and Caputo combined for the remaining five points.
South led all scorers with 29 points, which he paired with three boards and five dimes. Brady Tedrow packed his stat line with 16 points, while A.J. Blubaugh had 11 points, eight rebounds and an assist. Jay Swainhart finished with nine points and Jared Shaefer collected six.
The Freddies fell to 8-6 on the year, while their Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference mark still stands at 6-3, putting them in a three-way tie for second. Fredericktown returns to their league schedule Friday in a home game against Danville, starting with JV action at 6 p.m.
“We obviously can learn a lot from this. This was a good team,” Dibling said. “We’ll bounce back. They’re competitors. We’ve got to get ready for Danville Friday. We don’t have too much time to pout and feel sorry for ourselves. I’m pretty sure Danville’s not going to feel sorry for us. We’ve got to get back on track.”