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Batavia opponents, pick your poison. Whether inside or out, the Bulldogs have quite a tandem.
Junior guard Liza Fruendt handled the outside half and freshman forward Hannah Frazier controlled the inside. Both players set career-highs in scoring as the 44 points they combined for were nearly enough to beat St. Charles North by themselves in a 57-47 victory Tuesday in Batavia that kicked off the Upstate Eight Conference season for both teams.
Fruendt led the way with 26 points, hitting 12 of 13 free throws including 6 straight in the final 1:12 after the North Stars (0-6, 0-1) had pulled within 51-44 on sophomore Nicole Davidson's 3-pointer.
Frazier made her presence felt down low with 18 points and 14 rebounds, hitting 7 of 11 shots from the field and 4 of 5 at the line.
"We have a good team and we have a lot of potential," Frazier said. "We just have to keep practicing and work hard and I think we can do really great."
Batavia (4-2, 1-0) won each of the four quarters though none by more than 5 points. The Bulldogs trailed just once, 2-0 when Ashling Davern opened the scoring for the North Stars with a putback.
Frazier followed with a stickback of her own, the start of a 10-0 run capped by a Sami Villarreal 3. Up 10-2 at that point, the Bulldogs stretched their lead to as much as 27-14 midway through the second quarter on back-to-back 3s from Fruendt and a Frazier 3-point play.
But St. Charles North hung around, closing the first half on a 9-2 spurt. Davern's 3-pointer brought the North Stars within 29-23 at halftime.
"There were a couple times we could have let the game go, I don't think we did," North Stars coach Colleen Backer said. "I think our defensive effort was a lot stronger. We're definitely making progress, we just need to tweak a couple things. We've got a lot of young energy and a lot of experience energy too and we're kind of getting that all together."
The North Stars got as close as 31-27 in the second half on a well-designed out-of-bounds play that freed Davidson for a lay-in.
Fruendt scored Batavia's final 6 points of the quarter for a 42-33 lead entering the fourth, then opened the final quarter with a 17-foot jumper from the baseline.
But while the Bulldogs never saw their lead shrink dangerously low, they also weren't sharp enough to break the game open. The North Stars held them to 18-of-56 shooting from the field.
"We had spurts, two or three minute spurts here or there where we were clicking," Batavia coach Kevin Jensen said. "But then we'd have a two or three minute spurt where we weren't quite necessarily playing bad, we were just off a bit. We weren't working together, it wasn't for lack of effort, we were just off a bit."
Fruendt added 3 steals and 8 rebounds as Batavia outrebounded the North Stars 45-39.
Freshman Morgan Rosencrants, who played on the same AAU team with Batavia's Frazier, also had a strong game with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Davidson led the North Stars in scoring with 16 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
"She's a scorer," Backer said of Davidson. "I think she's the most athletic kid in the entire program. She's learning a lot playing against our competition. She and Morgan really play off each other. They have become close on and off the court."
Next up for Batavia is a trip to Geneva Friday night against the reigning conference champion Vikings who will be playing short-handed the rest of the year without point guard Michaela Loebel (ACL). The girls will play at 5:45 p.m. before the varsity boys.
"She's such a big leader, her presence is such a big block for them but they have a lot of other talent that can step up," Fruendt said. "They always have something there. They are still going to be good.
"We're so excited, we've been looking forward to it since last year when it ended. It's an awesome rivalry and something you look forward to."