Batavia junior guard Liza Fruendt and St. Charles North’s senior backcourt tandem of Alex Silverman and Natalie Winkates turned the North Stars’ gym into their own personal playground Friday night.
The trio combined for 15 3-point baskets — 11 of them coming in the second half — during their Upstate Eight Conference River Division girls basketball game.
Fruendt, who reached the 1,000-point career milestone last week, began her assault on the next 1,000 with a scintillating second-half shooting performance that helped the Bulldogs (15-8, 6-3) rally for a 59-52 victory over the North Stars (7-16, 3-7).
Held to just 2 first-half points on 1 of 6 shooting from the field, Fruendt regained her touch in the second half, as she poured in 27 of her game-high 29 points.
The 5-8 varsity veteran made 9 of her 13 second-half field goal attempts, including 5-for-7 from beyond the arc.
It was a far cry from the first 16 minutes.
“Everything was just off,” Fruendt said of her team’s 26-17 halftime deficit. “I just thought to myself, ‘you don’t want to lose this game for yourself and you don’t want to lose this game for this team.’”
“One of the parents was asking, ‘did you have a voice after halftime?’” said Batavia coach Kevin Jensen. “Actually, it was quite the opposite. I tried to stay as calm as possible. We just needed to get going. Once we got going, we knew we had a chance.”
The Bulldogs got going early in the third quarter when they went on a 10-0 run to take a 30-29 lead. Fruendt scored 7 of those 10 points, while Sami Villarreal (6 points) added a 3-pointer.
After a 3-point play from freshman Morgan Rosencrants (9 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals) put the North Stars in front, 32-30, Villarreal canned another 3-pointer from the top of the key and a long-range jumper from Miranda Grizaffi (7 points, 6 rebounds) gave the Bulldogs a 38-32 lead after 3 quarters.
On Senior Night, the North Stars answered with an 8-0 surge, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Winkates (15 points), to take a 40-38 lead with 6:40 remaining.
“Winkates and Silverman both played a heck of a game,” said North Stars coach Colleen Backer.
The next 4 minutes turned into a Wild West show of sorts, as Fruendt and Silverman (21 points) each hit three 3-pointers and the lead changed hands 7 times — the last coming when Fruendt knocked down a step-back 3-pointer from well beyond the top of the key to give the Bulldogs the lead for good at 51-49 with 2:41 left.
“I don’t think anyone was within a step and a half of the 3-point line,” said Jensen. “It’s kind of fun to see although I would’ve liked to have seen us play a little better defense.”
Fruendt later displayed her low-post skills with an inside bucket and added a layup with 34 seconds remaining to extend the lead to 55-49.
“When we need it, she’s the one that we can go to and she usually comes through,” said Jensen.
Freshman center Hannah Frazier added 12 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocked shots, as the Bulldogs moved to within 1 game in the loss column behind UEC River leaders Streamwood (8-2) and Geneva (7-2).
“She’s had an awesome year,” Fruendt said of the 6-1 Frazier. “She’s going to be tremendous in the next couple of years.”
Despite the loss, the North Stars had reason to celebrate, most notably for senior special needs student/team manager Janna Blowers, who was dressed in uniform and started the game.
“The idea was to have her on the floor, have her in uniform, and have her go through the starting lineup (introductions),” said Backer, who is also Blowers’ teacher. “She is just so meaningful to our team. She had a lot to do with our vibe. We had a ton of energy tonight.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.