FREDERICKTOWN — Lincoln Cunningham showed a soft touch early and a hard punch late Saturday night.
The junior guard scored 29 points to lead the Fredericktown boys basketball team to a 61-56 win over Newark Catholic in a fast-paced, up-and-down, back-and-forth non-league game.
“At the beginning of the game, I’m usually hot off the three-point line,” Cunningham said. “But when my legs get tired and I’m just not feeling it from three, I try to attack and get and-ones and help my team that way.”
Cunningham, who also had three rebounds and two assists for the game, scored all 11 points during an 11-0 run to end the third quarter.
“He’s a competitor,” Fredericktown coach Derek Dibling said. “There’s not a guy in that locker room that wants to win more than he does. At times, he can really take over a game and does it in a lot of different ways. His energy and his competitive spirit were a big difference for us.”
The Green Wave were able to overcome a 9-0 run in the first quarter. But Cunningham’s third-quarter was too much to overcome.
Cunningham had a steal that he turned into a layup to tie the game at 37 for the first points of the rally. He added a free throw, a 3-pointer and a layup in traffic before getting fouled shooting a three with one second left. He knocked down all three free throws to give the Freddies a 46-37 lead through three.
Terry Fearn found Caleb Sheriff for a layup to push the lead to 48-38, Fredericktown’s largest of the game, with 6:32 left.
Newark Catholic was able to whittle it down to four on a couple of occasions with threes by Matthew Gialdini and Slater Evans highlighting the effort. But the Freddies made just enough free throws down the stretch to keep their distance.
Cunningham buried two of Fredericktown’s four first-quarter 3-pointers as the Freddies built an 18-7 lead. Sheriff and Fearn knocked down other two for Fredericktown, which scored their first nine points from behind the arc.
But the Green Wave caught fire from behind the arc as well with four of their own, including threes by Slater Evans, Bryson Bell and Brandon Buchanan during an 11-0 run to close the quarter. Buchanan’s, which came off an Evans feed, was a buzzer-beater that helped Newark Catholic tie the game 18-18 at the end of the first. The teams played an even second quarter and went to the locker room with game tied at 29.
“That’s what I love about our team, we don’t have any quit,” Newark Catholic coach Nate Evans said. “Even at the end, if one of those shots falls, it’s right back to a two-point game. (I’m) proud of the way our guys fought to get back into it.”
Fearn and Sheriff had 10 points apiece and Mason Finnell added nine for the Freddies (10-8).
Fearn had a game-best 13 rebounds and added three assists and Finnell had four rebounds and two assists. Thomas Caputo had a couple of steals and Hatfield had three assists, three boards and a pair of steals for Fredericktown.
Evans had 16 points and three assists, Gialdini had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Matthew Carlisle and Cole Canter added nine points apiece for Newark Catholic.
Buchanan finished with five points and nine rebounds and Carlisle pulled down eight boards for the Green Wave (10-8).
“I knew it was going to be an up-and-down game and at the end of the day, they hit some big shots,” Evans said.
Fredericktown returns to KMAC play Tuesday night when it hosts Mount Gilead. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The rest of this article is available to our subscribers.
Do your part to support local journalism
Subscribe to our e-edition to read this and many other articles written by your neighbors.