Knights’ defense comes up big in win
It wasn’t always pretty.
The offense never seemed to find its rhythm. Ball security and rebounding were issues. And late game free throw shooting was inconsistent.
Yet, Fremont-Mills made the plays that mattered – especially on the defensive end – and did hit just enough free throws in the final minutes to defeat Shenandoah 41-31 in girls basketball Tuesday in Tabor.
Fremont-Mills coach Brett Weldon said his team is still adjusting to playing without point guard Izzy Weldon following her season-ending knee injury, but he liked how his team battled against the Fillies.
“We try to look for positives,” the coach said.
The biggest positive Weldon saw, other than getting the win, was other girls stepping up when their number was called late in the game when he was rotating offense for defense.
“Girls who didn’t play much last game are all of a sudden getting some quality minutes,” Weldon said. “In the long run I hope that helps us. Trying to replace a ball handler that doesn’t get flustered in games like that is tough to do. But we did just enough and made some free throws and maybe we don’t have to sweat it out as much.”
The game had the makings of a slugfest from the opening tip. Neither team had much success cracking the other’s defense and the first half ended with the Knights ahead 17-13. The two teams combined for 19 first half fouls.
Fremont-Mills opened their lead up in the third quarter. Ryleigh Ewalt’s three-pointer put the Knights up 28-16.
The Fillies, however, would begin to chip away at the lead.
Three-pointers by Macey Finlay and Brooklen Black and another bucket by Black trimmed the Knights’ margin to 35-29 with just over three minutes to go.
Fremont-Mills would miss five straight free throws over the next 1:30 – and 9 of 15 over the final three minutes – to leave the door open but the Fillies couldn’t answer on any of their opportunities and their comeback would end there.
The Knights held the Fillies to just two points and no field goals over the final three minutes.
“We’re going to hang our hat on the defensive,” Weldon said. “We’re not very big but we’re real athletic and we’re willing to go out and guard man to man. Tonight we had to adjust a little bit and go zone just because of their size but we were able to throw man to man in there late in the game when they didn’t have size.
“Definitely our defense is what is going to keep us in games and hopefully we start making some shots.”
Teagan Ewalt led the Knights with a game-high 21 points. Ryleigh Ewalt pitched in 16 points and five rebounds.
The Knights are 6-4 on the season overall and 2-3 in the Corner Conference.
Teagan Ewalt scored 15 points and Ellie Switzer 11 to lead Fremont-Mills to a 45-23 win over Griswold in Corner Conference girls basketball last Tuesday.
Ewalt made 6-of-11 shots and grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists to go with her game-high scoring night.