Clutch down the stretch
The Fredonia Lady Hillbillies (3-4, 4-8) used a 12-4 second-quarter run to fend off the Falconer Lady Golden Falcons (0-7,0-12), 40-35, Thursday in CCAA Division 1 girls high school basketball.
Trailing, 31-23, the Lady Golden Falcons staged a comeback and made things interesting as they cut the score to two points late in the game. However, Morgan Genovese hit two clutch free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory for the Lady Hillbillies. Olivia Pucciarelli and Kirsta Wheelock also hit clutch free throws in the final quarter to preserve the win.
Genovese led all scorers with 17 points.
“It’s hard to expect 17 from her because every defense is focusing on her,” Fredonia coach Carol Zirkle said. “We need to have her get her 15, but we also need to have the other kids get hit eight and 10 points.”
Emily Valvo added six points and Pucciarelli had five for the winners. Bre Dahn, Valvo and Pucciarelli each had six rebounds while Wheelock had five assists in the win. Alicia Deering did her part with five steals for Fredonia.
The Lady Golden Falcons outscored the home team, 23-16 in the second half, but could not overcome the 12-4 run in the second quarter .
“We were able to get some steals and layups and Morgan had nine points in the second quarter,” Zirkle noted. “She broke free and we got her the ball.”
Emma Steel led Falconer with eight points, five steals and as many assists while Shannon Gunnell had seven points, 13 rebounds and two steals. No player for Falconer scored in double figures.
“Overall, I am happy,” Zirkle said. “We played the best defense we have all year in the first half. They hustled and worked hard and persevered. When it came down to a two-point lead, we battled back and got the lead back to five. It was very intense the whole game.”
Fredonia racked up 19 fouls and Falconer collected 18 as the teams combined for 43 foul shots.
“Falconer plays very hard,” Zirkle said. “They hustle and go after you. They are getting better each game. Any win at this point in the season is a big win.”