ST. CHARLES – A strong second-half offensive effort by the Batavia girls basketball team swung the momentum in its favor in a 59-52, come-from-behind Upstate Eight Conference River win against St. Charles North on Friday night.
The North Stars led, 26-17, at the half of the senior night contest.
But Liza Fruendt rallied the Bulldogs, scoring 27 of her 29 game-high points in the last two quarters for the Bulldogs (15-8, 6-3).
“What’d we have, 42 points in the second half?” Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. “That’s a little bit better considering we only had 17 in the first half. We just needed to get going and once we did, we knew we had a chance.”
Fruendt, who surpassed the 1,000 point mark of her high school basketball career last week, was held to two points in the first 16 minutes. North’s Natalie Winkates effectively guarded her during the half. Winkates (15 points) picked up her third foul early in the third quarter and spent more time on the bench.
“Liza’s 27 in the second half versus two in the first half made a significant impact on the game,” North Stars coach Colleen Backer said. “Winkates held her to two, then she got into foul trouble.”
Fruendt opened the second half with the Bulldogs’ first trey of the evening. The junior’s 3-pointer ignited a 21-6 run by the Bulldogs. The quarter ended with Batavia on top, 38-32.
“They shot real well from the outside tonight,” Jensen said. “Once we slowed that down and changed up our defenses a little bit, and actually got them to miss or turn the ball over, then we could play our ball a little bit where we got up the floor fast.”
“We played a heck of game. The third quarter was difficult on us,” Backer said. “We had tons of opportunities and we were swinging the ball. We shot 23 percent from the two-point range overall in the game, and that’s significant.”
The fourth quarter started with a 3-point shooting contest by both sides.
Eight of the first 10 buckets of the frame were from beyond the arc.
Winkates’ third trey in the quarter with three minutes left to play put the North Stars (7-16, 3-9 UEC River) back on top, 49-48.
Fruendt responded with her third 3-pointer of the period to return the lead for good to the Bulldogs, 51-49.
North’s Alex Silverman and Batavia’s Hannah Frazier dominated the scoring in the first half. Silverman scored 10 of her 21 points in the first quarter. Frazier tallied all but two of her 12 points in the first half.
“I really wanted to win this game, not just for the seniors but for the entire team,” said Silverman, a senior, about her last game on the North Stars’ court. “We just came up a little bit short.”
The biggest cheer of the night came when senior Janna Blowers was announced as a starter for the North Stars. Blowers, a special needs student, has been the squad’s manager for the last three years.
Blowers played for the game’s opening minute in a move that was coordinated before the game by both coaching staffs.