TABOR - Fremont-Mills kept pulling away and Sydney kept coming back.
The Knights hit four free throws in the final 1:21 and held Sydney to just two points over the final four minutes to pull away for good in a 36-31 Class 1A, Region 8 basketball victory on Thursday.
The Knights trailed 12-9 after a quarter but opened the second-quarter on a 9-0 run to get ahead 18-12. The lead was trimmed to 18-17 at the half in a process that would repeat itself throughout the second half.
“It happened a couple different times. We’d get rolling a little, and it’s a credit to them, they fought tooth-and-nail to get back in the game and they did,” said Fremont-Mills coach Rod Williams.
In the third quarter, the Knights jumped out to a five-point lead on Taryn Williams’ 14-footer with 3:23 to go in the quarter. But the Cowgirls wouldn’t go away, twice trimming the margin back to two points before F-M went ahead 26-22 heading into the final frame.
Another jumper, this time a three-pointer by Taryn Williams with 6:10 to go extended the Knight lead to 29-22, it’s biggest of the game.
But, once again, the Cowgirls wouldn’t allow the Knights to just gallop away.
A three-pointer by Tori Moreland and a runner by Shelby Anderson got Sidney within two at 29-27 with just over four minutes left.
The two teams traded baskets over the next two minutes before a free throw by Andrea McClary and two more by Macy Williams put Fremont-Mills ahead 34-29 with 1:21 to go in the game.
Sensing this was his team’s moment to finally put away the Cowgirls, Coach Williams called a timeout, pulled his team out of their match-up 2-3 zone and went full-court man-to-man. The pressure switch up worked and Cowgirls scored just two more points the rest of the way as Macy Williams hit all four of her free throws to ice the win.
“Our defense was pretty good but we had a couple of breakdowns on defense and I thought they had a couple girls shoot it better than we expected. I think we sort of gave those shots up thinking we could and suddenly we have a ball game,” Williams said.
Williams, a devout man-to-man defensive coach who used a zone defense for the first three and a half quarters against Sydney, said the change-up to full court man-to-man defense did it’s job.
“I thought it might throw them off,” Williams said. “If we were deeper, I’d play that (full court pressure) all year long. We’re just not deep enough right now. Eventually we’ll get there. But I think it worked really, really well in that last two minutes or so. They really couldn’t get a good look.”
Macy Williams, despite an off shooting night for the freshman who leads the Knights in scoring at 16.9 points per game, scored a game-high 16 points. Taryn Williams and Andrea McClary each added nine points.
“Her shooting has been struggling. We’ve been shooting every night so she’s fighting through it. Sometimes she just has to step back and let some other girls score and be a good teammate like she did tonight,” Williams said.
McClary had nine rebounds to go with her nine points.
“Both the McClary girls, Ashley and Andrea, have really been coming on. I don’t know how many rebounds they had but their play is really going to help us down the road,” Williams said.
Anderson led Sydney with 13 points.
Macy Williams’ career-high 31 points wasn’t enough for the Fremont-Mills girls basketball team in a 63-55 non-conference loss last Monday.
Williams hit 8-of-27 shots from the field and 11-of-15 at the line. She also added five rebounds and five assists.
Taryn Williams and Emily Smith each added eight points for the Knights.
Breanna Allely led Shenandoah with 16 points. Haley Lembrick and Serena Parker added 14 points each. Parker also pulled down 20 rebounds.