Subject Line (article title)
Send to (required)E-mail
Send from (required)E-mail
Give Liza Fruendt an inch, trouble.
Give her any more than that? Elk Grove found out the hard way what happens Tuesday night in the Class 4A Batavia regional semifinals.
Fruendt scored 12 points in the first quarter and 11 more in the second. She made five 3-pointers in the first half and shot 9 of 13 from the field.
Fruendt added 11 more points in the second half despite spending much of it on the bench with a big lead. She finished with 34 points in Batavia's 68-51 victory.
After being hounded by St. Charles North twice, Neuqua Valley and other area teams that have played Batavia twice and know what to expect, Fruendt had more open shots in the first half Tuesday than perhaps the last three weeks combined.
"It was, if I'm going to be honest," Fruendt said of having more room to shoot.
"The past few weeks have been pretty intense. So it was nice to be able to have maybe two or three inches of separation. Once I can get that I can find my shot pretty easily. Then it's just a matter of hitting them and tonight I did."
It was the sixth time this season the Missouri State-bound senior has scored 30 or more points. She passed her brother Nick's career total of 1,849 points with a 3-point shot to open the fourth quarter and now trails only Corey Williams in Batavia school history.
"She's someone who can drive very well and she's an outstanding outside shooter. We had a hard time matching up," Elk Grove coach Kathie Swanson said of Fruendt who finished 14 of 21 from the field and matched the six 3s she hit against Geneva.
"She can attack the basket very well. We were hoping to stay in front of her but she was knocking down her outside shots."
No. 3 seed Batavia (19-9) will play No. 6 Willowbrook (23-4) Thursday night, aiming for the program's first regional title since 1990 and just the third ever. Willowbrook hasn't won a regional since 1996.
Fruendt wasn't the only Bulldog with a hot hand. Erin Bayram hit several long jumpers and finished with 13 points. The team shot 59.6 from the field (28 for 47) while Elk Grove made just 17 of 50, as Batavia broke out of a recent offensive skid of 49, 46 and 49 points its last three games.
"The playoffs are the best time of the year," Fruendt said. "We wanted to get as big of a lead as we could. Our hard practices really showed today. Erin been working on that (jumpers) and it's awesome to see her hitting them. She's becoming really confident with them which is big for us."
Elk Grove (9-19) made a run to start the third quarter after Batavia had built leads of 17-11 after one quarter and 41-21 at halftime.
Melissa Solorio, who just reached 1,000 career points Monday, opened the second half with a 3 to ignite a 10-2 run and trim Batavia's lead to 43-31.
Batavia answered with 10 straight points to extend their lead to 53-33 going to the fourth.
Twice Bulldogs coach Kevin Jensen pulled his starters with 20-plus point leads in the final quarter, and twice he brought them back when Amber Lindfors led the Grens' charge to within 13.
Lindfors led Elk Grove with 21 points, 9 rebounds. Solorio scored 20, but only two other Elk Grove players scored while nine different Bulldogs tallied at least a basket.
"I told our girls I'm really proud of how competitive they were," Swanson said. "They didn't give up. It would have been very easy when you are down by 20 to kind of say it's not our day kind of thing. We kept fighting back and kept chipping away."
Jensen said he stole a page from the state champion football team's motto in picking up his first regional win in three years as coach.
"I want another day of practice, I want another game together, I don't want to be done," Jensen said. "That's the mentality we have all tried to take.
"It didn't look like they were wanting to shut down Liza which is fine. I would expect that a little more on Thursday. Tonight she caught fire on her 3s. If she has any space and can do that, she can put up 15 in a heartbeat."