Balanced scoring and defense spark Fremont Girls; Boys get a lift from Zerfas
Fremont 59 Reed City 35
The first quarter saw the Packer offense sputter a bit with turnovers and missed shots but Kaitlyn Bennett made a couple of defensive plays in the paint and sister Jessica Bennett ripped a triple toward the end of the period to keep the hosts close at 11-8. Halfway through the second and trailing by 4 the Packer press went to work and when J Bennett hit another three it gave the Packers a lead they would hold the rest of the game Abby VandenBerg took advantage of some RC turnovers to hit a pair of buckets as well as going 3-3 from the stripe and Mia Witte capped off the scoring with 4 points including a pair of FT’s and the half ended with Fremont firmly in front 28-18.
The teams played an even 3rd quarter but in the 4th the Packers pulled away as Jeanelle Scharphorn, Brianna Webber and Calla Miller hit early and often and sealed the win for Fremont.
Coach Zerlaut -- "It was a slow start, but it was really nice to see the ball go in the basket consistently tonight in the final three quarters. The girls have been playing with great effort but not making shots. That gets frustrating for them, as well as those watching. It becomes deflating when you are doing so many things right, but can't put any points on the scoreboard. Tonight was a great team effort with 9 different players scoring points, 29 steals for the team, and 19 assists on 22 baskets."
Miller and Haley Zerlaut flashed some defensive wizardry on the court with Miller dishing out 12 assists to go with her 13 points and 6 boards. Zerlaut also reached double figures in scoring with 10 and VandenBerg finished with 9.
Fremont (4-10, 4-8) will head for Remus Tuesday to play Chip Hills before finishing their regular season at home Friday against Central Montcalm
Fremont 51 Reed City 48
It was a more typical Fremont Reed City court battle than the earlier one up North. The spirited Coyotes took control early with the Packers struggling to find the hoop and the visitors zeroing in from long range. In the second the hosts clawed their way back and took a 22-21 lead halfway through the period, but from there on it was all RC as they poured in the next 10 points and went to break with a 9 point edge and a surge of momentum.
The game was a contrast to their previous game in Coyoteland, a game where the Packers cruised to a dominant 27 point win. The RC defense was denying the paint and shutting down Braiden McDonald who was hampered by foul trouble all night. The Coyotes kept the Pack at bay and halfway through the 3rd McDonald was whistled for #4. Fremont’s top scorer took to the bench with his team staring at a 6 point deficit.
That was when Joshua Zerfas stepped up. The senior put his team on his back in a flurry of scoring, steals and dishes including dropping 9 straight points to put the Pack back in front.
But it wasn’t over. The Coyotes proved to be a game group as they kept the Packers within striking distance and refused to go down easy. Holding the lead, the hosts took the air out on a pair of possessions but the Coyotes managed to stay in sight to the final ticks when Lane Converse split from the line with 1.1 secs on the clock and Reed City’s ¾ court Hail Mary fell short.
Coach Zerfas: “I think we really came together as a team when Braiden had to go out with foul trouble. It could have been a bad turning point but we came together with some great energy on defense.:
Zerfas (Joshua, not Coach) finished with a team high 14 points adding 7 steals and a half dozen dimes to the stat sheet. McDonald managed 9 points in limited court time and Payton Mansfield also scored 9 while swatting away a pair of Coyote tries and performing well against rugged competition in the paint.
Fremont (11-4, 10-2) remains a half game back of Big Rapids in the Gold. They will face Chip Hills at home Tuesday and Central Montcalm will arrive to wrap up the regular season on Friday.