HOWARD — Under the basket was more similar to a wrestling match than a basketball game between the East Knox and Fredericktown girls basketball teams.
Meggan Bartok had 18 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to a 58-40 win over the Freddies Wednesday night to wrap up Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference competition for the season.
“Every time someone goes up for a shot — I try to get myself in position to where I’m in front underneath the basket,” Bartok said. “Then I can just pull down (the ball) and go back up. It’s all about positioning.”
Fredericktown got an 18-point, 14-rebound per-formance by Gabby Daniels in the loss as the two teams combined to pull down 83 rebounds in the contest. East Knox won the battle of the boards by a 49-34 margin.
Daniels and Jacklyn Nussbaum had a high-low game going early on as the Freddies built an 8-5 lead that led to an East Knox timeout with 3:15 remaining in the opening quarter.
“Gabby is a sophomore and sometimes you forget that she’s that young,” Fredericktown coach Tim Maceyko said. “Jacklyn Nussbaum and Gabby Daniels worked hard on that high-low action this year. Tonight, it was paying off. We got away from that for a while and that’s when we struggled.”
Abigail Buckingham put-back a miss and was fouled. She converted the ensuing free throw to tie it 8-8 at the 2:37 mark. That and-1 started a 15-0 run for the Bulldogs (10-11, 4-10) and they never trailed again.
“They wanted to go into a zone,” East Knox coach Chip Pozderac said. “We weren’t playing a good man, so sometimes you gotta (make the switch). (Offensively) – I told them, ‘If you want to shoot the ball, then you gotta rebound.’ Meggan was just clearing up the boards.”
Alexandria Magers, who had a game-best seven assists to go with seven points and a pair of steals for East Knox, fed to Bartok for the go-ahead 3-pointer and then found Buckingham for another long ball on the next possession to give the Bulldogs a 14-8 lead at the end of one.
“I think we pushed the ball up the floor more and we started shooting from outside very well,” Bartok said.
“Give (East Knox) credit,” Maceyko said. “They shot lights out from deep again – just like they did the first time we played them. We game-planned for it and I thought, early-on, we had some answers. Then, it kind of fell apart.”
Joci Totten had back-to-back baskets and knocked down a pair of free throws to cap the rally with 6:33 left in the second. The Bulldogs maintained and led 33-20 at the break and cruised in the second half. That rally accounted for Totten’s scoring total and she added six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Bartok added four assists, three steals and a couple of blocks to her stat line; Morgan McCauley added 12 points and Buckingham chipped in 10 points and 7 boards for East Knox.
“We hit some shots when we needed them,” Pozderac said. “(Fredericktown would) get a little bit closer and then we string (a couple together).”
Nussbaum had 12 points, nine boards, three assists and a pair of steals and Grace Sipes and Tayler Overholt had three steals apiece for the Freddies (8-13, 3-11).
Fredericktown is right back at it tonight when it hosts Mansfield Temple Christian in a makeup of a game originally scheduled for Jan. 18. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.
East Knox, meanwhile, has more than a week off before it opens postseason play at home against Morral Ridgedale in the second round of the Division IV district tournament. The game between sixth-seeded Bulldogs and the ninth-seeded Rockets will start at 7 p.m.
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