COUNCIL BLUFFS — With three minutes to play at the Jennie Ed Sports Med MAC Shootout at the Mid-America Center, the recent five-game winning streak by the Fremont-Mills girls seemed to be in danger of ending.
Following a three-point play by Council Bluffs Heartland Christian’s Molly Cunard, the Knights trailed by six points. Their leading scorer was coming off a bout with the flu. And their next two had four fouls each.
Still, F-M pulled out its sixth consecutive win, 58-53, by closing the game with an 11-0 run.
Macy Williams hit two 3-pointers, the second one coming in transition, to tie the score. Then Taryn Williams canned a go-ahead 3 with 1:25 to play before adding a fast-break basket late.
The victory moved the Knights (6-1) to 6-0 in Corner Conference play. F-M pulled into a share of the league lead with Class 1-A No. 6 Stanton entering the holiday break.
“Sometimes we just need a little jump-start,” said Macy Williams, who scored 10 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter. “Unfortunately, it was at the end of the game. But we got the win, so I’m not complaining too much.”
The first of her final 3s came with 2:55 to play to cut the biggest Eagle lead down to three.
“After that fell, I got a little more confident and hit the second one,” she said.
Taryn Williams followed with a 3 of her own. She then capped the strong finish by the Knights by scoring the final points while running the floor, one day after being ill. F-M coach Rod Williams, Macy’s father, praised the play of his leading scorer, who tallied 18 points.
Andrea McClary had 17 points in the first three quarters for the Knights, who found themselves in a battle the entire way after racing to a 9-2 lead at the start. Sisters Steffi and Molly Cunard combined for 40 points for the Eagles (5-4), who fell to 4-3 in conference play.
F-M opened the game with a triangle-and-two defense against Heartland, but it found itself in foul trouble by halftime. Every Knight starter had at least two fouls at the intermission.
Steffi Cunard recorded 12 of her game-high 23 points in the third period. Molly Cunard, who finished with 17 points, hit a 3 to break a 47-all tie with 5:01 remaining. She extended the lead to six when she converted a conventional three-point play in transition.
Both Cunards entered Thursday averaging better than 20 points per game.
“You can’t let them get a look because, somehow, they always go in,” Rod Williams said. “I thought Heartland Christian brought a lot of energy to it. We usually have the energy, at least more than the team we’re playing. ... We could not get any energy tonight.”
The Knights found it late to pull the game out. The Eagles went scoreless for the final four minutes.
“A lot of that was our conditioning,” Heartland Christian coach Robert Cunard said. “We got fatigued there in the last three minutes, and they got some open looks from the 3-point line and they converted on their shots. Our fatigue kind of took us out of our offensive swing, too.
“I used my timeouts I had, all five of them, to give them breaks. Playing mostly five girls the whole game made it tough with our conditioning.”
Coach Cunard praised his team for its tough play, saying it was “the best we’ve banged with another team.” He got 13 combined points from Sarah Hardcastle and Katie Fouts, who average half of that. The Eagles still came up short.
Rod Williams told his team it could have Friday off if it played well. He said Thursday’s effort didn’t qualify, but the Knights won’t practice anyway because he said they need rest.
“We played decent defense in the last two minutes,” Rod Williams said. “It seemed like, when we had to, we came through.”
F-M had blown out its previous five conference foes. But it was pushed to the end this time.
Macy Williams said the effort, while a winning one, wasn’t what F-M was after.
“People may look at our record and think we’re doing pretty good, but our expectations are so high,” she said. “And we haven’t been satisfied. Every time, after the game, we get in the locker room and think what we can do better because that’s not how we want to play.”
Heartland Christian (5-4, 4-3) .......................................... 10 16 16 11—53
Fremont-Mills (6-1, 6-0) .......................................... 14 15 14 15—58
HC: Sarah Hardcastle 7, Katie Fouts 6, Steffi Cunard 23, Molly Cunard 17.
FM: Taryn Williams 18, Macy Williams 19, Andrea McClary 17, Ashley McClary 4.
CB St. Albert girls 54, CB Abraham Lincoln 50
St. Albert led for the entire fourth quarter. But Abraham Lincoln was never out of it.
The Saintes (4-3) didn’t seal their 54-50 victory over the Lynx until Kylie Ferguson capped her 25-point night with a pair of free throws with 1.5 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
Prior to that, A.L. had two possessions in the final minute, down by one and two points, after St. Albert struggled to finish of the game from the foul line.
“When you have turnovers and you’re not nailing your free throws, that’s just a recipe to get beat,” Saintes coach Dick Wettengel said. “They still had a shot until Kylie hit those last two.”
St. Albert led for most of the first half. A.L. pulled even on Hannah Hennings’ 3-pointer late in the third. Jen Rew’s jumper with 14 seconds left in that quarter put the Saintes up for good at 41-39.
But the Lynx (4-3), who got 14 points from Delaney Bolton and 13 from Hennings, stayed in it.
“We definitely had our chances,” A.L. coach Chad Schaa said. “We’re going to grow from that.”
Abraham Lincoln (4-3) .......................................... 11 16 12 11—50
St. Albert (4-3) .......................................... 13 12 11 13—54
AL: Maddy Rief 8, Delany Bolton 14, Lauren Colpitts 4, Hannah Hennings 13, Alexa Murphy 6, Kelsey Johnson 2, Deana Roth 3.
SA: Kylie Ferguson 25, Lexi McClung 2, Alli Wettengel 8, Jen Rew 3, Matti Munger 4, Jacey Martin 10.
Fremont-Mills boys 57, CB Heartland Christian 55
Down by 12 at the half, Heartland Christian rallied behind senior Cody Cunard and junior Steven Horan to take a pair of second-half leads.
Trailing by four, Horan’s drive cut F-M’s lead to 57-55 with 7.4 seconds left. After Aaron Fleuren caught the inbounds pass, Heartland fouled him, but no time elapsed. After Fleuren hit the front end of a 1-and-1, officials realized the error and elected to take the point off the board and change the clock to 5.5 seconds.
Fleuren hit the front end of the 1-and-1 again, but missed the second. Lon Gray’s 22-footer at the buzzer was well short.
Cunard had 24 points, while Horan added 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Fleuren led F-M with 21 points and eight rebounds, hitting 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
CB Heartland Christian (5-4, 4-3) .......................................... 12 13 18 12—55
Fremont-Mills (2-4, 2-3) .......................................... 18 19 5 15—57
HC: Gabe Claar 7, Steven Horan 20, Cody Cunard 24, Lon Gray 4.
FM: Mackenzy Lang 8, Colton Dodson 5, Tristan Melgoza 10, Austin Switzer 12, Aaron Fleuren 21, Parkers Powers 2.
CB Lewis Central girls 54, CB Thomas Jefferson 18
The Titans rebounded nicely from Tuesday’s loss at Shenandoah, using swarming defense and unselfish offense to cruise.
Paige Beacom led Lewis Central (6-2) with nine points. The Titans, who led 24-9 at the half, had nine girls score between three and nine points.
Deziree Kearney paced the Yellow Jackets with five points.
CB Thomas Jefferson (0-7) .......................................... 2 7 4 5—18
CB Lewis Central (6-2) .......................................... 12 12 11 19—54
TJ: Abigail Ross 3, Jami Miedl 4, Teleigha Starks 4, Deziree Kearney 5, Rachel O’Neal 2.
LC: Dana Doebelin 4, Paige Beacom 9, Madison Paulson 8, Alexis Spielman 6, Shelby Simonin 3, Kye Madsen 6, Asia Sockrider 3, Kasandra Larsen 8, Amy Pedersen 7.