BATAVIA – Re-united freshman 6-footers Hannah Frazier of Batavia and Morgan Rosencrants of St. Charles North exchanged grins and double-doubles Tuesday night.
Bulldogs junior Liza Fruendt, a fellow Illinois Lady Lightning AAU standout during the summer, arguably made an even bigger imprint on the Upstate Eight Conference River Division girls basketball opener.
That her career-high 26 points took a backseat in Fruendt’s assessment of Batavia’s 57-47 victory illustrated her rising regard for Frazier.
While an effective high-low game for Batavia (4-2, 1-0 UEC River) created versatile looks and opportunities, both players cited an off-court rapport for their shared early-season success. Fruendt also started on varsity as a freshman, and seldom has been shy about mentoring Frazier, part of a younger age-group team for the Lady Lightning.
“She’s 14 playing as a freshman,” Fruendt said. “I was 14. You’re a lot younger. You’re playing against girls that are 18, so I just told her you just keep going and keep doing what you know how to do. And if you keep doing what you know how to do, no one is going to stop you.”
Frazier contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds, countering 14 points and 10 rebounds from Rosencrants. Batavia freshman guard Bethany Orman also is part of their offseason team.
While the North Stars showed improvement defensively, Frazier’s continuous movement around the basket and Fruendt’s shooting and slashing ability always kept Batavia in overall command when the visitors crept closer.
North (0-6, 0-1) remained winless but played one of its stronger games after a trying run through the challenging York Thanksgiving Tournament.
Opening their season with a 33-point loss to Neuqua Valley, the North Stars challenged York and Prospect later in the tournament, benefiting from the accelerated development of Rosencrants, a 6-1 wing who scored 25 points against the host Dukes.
North sophomore guards Nicole Davidson (16 points) and Ashling Davern (eight) combined for four 3-pointers Tuesday. With 6-3 junior post Liz McNally eyeing increased minutes after tweaking her back in the offseason, the North Stars remain optimistic.
“We’re definitely making progress. We just need to tweak a couple things, but we’re definitely working hard,” North coach Colleen Backer said. “We’ve got a lot of young energy and a lot of experienced energy, too, and we’re kind of getting that all together.”
North drew to within 29-25 when Rosencrants scored on the opening possession of the second half.
About two minutes later, Frazier got an inside basket to make the score 36-27 Batavia. The dueling freshmen were a major talking point among Backer and counterpart Kevin Jensen after the game.
Even Fruendt looked into the future, mentioning how fun the Frazier-Rosencrants matchup figured to be when she came home to visit from college.
“We’re not in [AAU] season right now, but we were practicing a lot together and really used to each other,” Frazier said. “That made it more of a challenge, but it was a lot of fun.”
Fruendt’s 12 for 13 effort from the free-throw line helped Batavia hover around a 10-point edge down the stretch. With Jensen joking that her shot attempts may also have been a career high, Fruendt added a pair of three-pointers and four field goals.
“It was good at parts. I thought that I could have been playing a lot better than I was,” Fruendt said. “My mental game probably wasn’t in it as much as it could have been, but overall, it was pretty good.”
As Friday’s visit to rival Geneva looms, Fruendt isn’t the only Bulldog who likes the direction she’s headed.
“We have a good team and we have a lot of potential,” Frazier said. “We’ve just got to keep practicing and working hard, and I think we can be really great.”