Jessica Donahue and Amy Carlson combined for 33 points for the Fremont-Mills girls basketball team in a 51-39 victory over East Mills in the opening round of Region 3, Class 1A districts at Malvern on Thursday.
The two teams, who played twice in the regular season with the Knights winning both, played even for most of the first three quarters until Fremont-Mills extended its lead to 33-26 heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Knights pulled away with a 18-13 run.
Despite the loss, East Mills coach Brian Bertini thought his team played one of its most complete games of the year.
“The girls believed they could compete and win if they had confidence and even though we didn’t win the game, our attitude and effort were top-notch this evening,” said Bertini, whose team finishes the year 3-18 overall and 2-7 in Corner Conference.
Bertini thought his team benefited by the return of forward Jensen Duysen.
“Having Jensen back in the lineup was huge, with her inside presence,” said Bertini. “She is strong and knows how to move in the paint and score.”
Wolverine senior Katie Fritz scored a team-high 18 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out two assists.
“I’m so proud of all the girls for their effort and performance tonight,” said Bertini. “And also for hanging in there and battling through a tough season. We gained and grew a lot this year both individually as team members and as a collective group.”
Carlson led the Knights with 19 points. Donahue added 14.
East Mills 17
The Essex girls rolled to a 58-4 first half lead and never looked back in a 86-17 victory over East Mills last Monday.
Despite the dominating win, Essex coach Allen Stuart was critical of his team’s second-half play.
The Trojanettes held the Wolverines to just two first half field goals – eight for the game – and a 58-4 lead at the break. But still, Stuart wasn’t happy.
“The first half, we played pretty good,” Stuart said. “The second half was a different game. I have to give East Mills credit. They re-grouped at halftime and played hard in the second half. But we just weren’t aggressive enough on defense. And when we’re not aggressive on defense we’re not aggressive on offense.”
Essex, 19-3 overall and 8-1 in the Corner Conference, shot 47.8 percent from the field (33-of-69), including 7-of-17 from behind the arc, and out shot the Wolverines 13-of-24 to 1-of-4 at the free line.
“I really thought we played okay,” said Stuart. “When Joscelyn (Coleman) and Emily (Wenstrand) are hitting, and when you play aggressive defensive, like we did at times tonight, you can get a lot done.”
Wenstrand finished with a game-high 34 points, connecting on 6-of-11 three pointers, and grabbing nine rebounds. Coleman added 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field and 15 rebounds.
Annie Lindburg added 16 points and five rebounds for Essex.
Gabbi Sowers, Katie Fritz, Shelby Sommerla and Dani Paulsen each scored four points to lead the Wolverines.