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Fruendt gashes Geneva with 51 points in Batavia win

Batavia's Liza Fruendt scored a program-record 51 points Friday as the Bulldogs won 
at Geneva, 75-68.
Batavia's Liza Fruendt scored a program-record 51 points Friday as the Bulldogs won at Geneva, 75-68.

GENEVA – Shortly after delivering one of the top "Where where you when…?" moments in Batavia girls basketball program history, Liza Fruendt pondered the whereabouts of her shoes.

Summoned to speak for herself and the 51 points that helped lift Batavia past Geneva, 75-68, in a key Upstate Eight Conference River Division game Friday, Fruendt addressed the bedlam in bare feet.

If there's a next time between the Bulldogs and Vikings this season, perhaps Geneva might petition for 32 minutes of Fruendt without her kicks. Then again, the way things are going for Batavia, you never know.

"We've all been coming in before practice, staying after practice. Honestly, it's just transition," Fruendt said. "I know I keep repeating myself. It's just we're getting up and down the floor so easy and just passing so well that it's just becoming transition and easy buckets. It's a little repetitive, but…"

Say no more. Geneva (12-4, 4-2 UEC River) and the rest of the conference can attest.

Fruendt scored 30 points in Tuesday's rout of St. Charles East in which she passed Katie Issel to become the Bulldogs' all-time leading scorer. On Friday, Batavia (14-5, 6-0) moved closer to dethroning three-time defending River champion Geneva behind a career-high outburst that topped Fruendt's previous standard of 37, set against Rich South last month.

At one point, Fruendt stepped back to hit a deep 3-pointer – one of six treys on the night – in obvious improvisation. Grinning, Bulldogs coach Kevin Jensen turned to Geneva forward Abby Novak, who was waiting at the scorer's table, and made a quip about great coaching.

"I mean, I respect her enough as a player and respect him enough as a coach to know that he's joking," Novak said. "She's a great shooter. She really hit those shots. Even if you're in her face, there's nothing you can do about that."

Batavia senior forward Erin Bayram followed with 10 points, and called her best friend's effort "a silent 51."

The Bulldogs all expressed astonishment when Jensen revealed Fruendt's final scoring total in the locker room after the game. Jensen spoke unofficially, but said it was probable Fruendt had set a girls program record. He later tweeted that former standout Corey Williams holds the boys single-game mark with 56 points in 1992.

While she rightfully reveled in her accomplishment – who wouldn't? – Fruendt stressed the importance of the outcome above all. Before this winter, Batavia had not defeated Geneva in six seasons. Now the Bulldogs boast a season sweep.

"I think it's most meaningful knowing we beat them twice in the regular season. We've never won on this floor and it's our last time playing here, you know," Fruendt said. "I'll never forget it."

Last weekend, Fruendt texted Jensen a score that these days carries almost as much cachet as Friday's final and 59-51 – Batavia's margin of victory when it defeated visiting Geneva in early December.

Trinity 56, Whitney Young 52 signified a six-degrees-of-separation kind of thing. Batavia had pushed Trinity at the Montini Christmas Tournament last month, and here was Trinity getting leverage of its own against a program with six consecutive Class 4A final four appearances – including two state titles.

"Really, when I saw the outcome of that game, I was extremely surprised," Bayram said. "And it just motivated us to be like, 'All right, we lost to Trinity by two. What else can we accomplish this season?' It was just kind of like a fire in our belly and made us want to work that much harder."

The Vikings featured four double-figure scorers – Morgan Seberger had 18 while Grace Loberg, Janie McCloughan and Sidney Santos added 14 apiece – but still couldn't take sustained control.

A pair of Seberger 3s in the last minute of the first half helped Geneva pull to within 38-30 at the break. Moments earlier, a Fruendt trey had pushed Batavia's lead to 15.

Throughout the game, fans nudged and asked one another how many points they thought Fruendt had.

The answer shouldn't be forgotten for awhile, even though Fruendt herself doubled back at the first mention of "51."

"I was just kind of like, 'Whaaat?' " she said. "I literally had no idea."

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