CAMBRIA — Things weren’t looking too good for the Cambria-Friesland girls basketball team, which trailed for almost the entire first half, and for the first few minutes of the second half, but that all changed when Morgan Jones started to heat up.
The Cambria-Friesland senior forward sunk five 3-pointers, four in the second half, on her way to scoring a game-high 24 points and lifting the Hilltoppers to a 48-44 come-from-behind victory over Pardeeville in a Trailways West Conference game on Tuesday night.
Cambria-Friesland (7-12, 3-9 Trailways West) trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, but used a 6-2 run to close the half to cut Pardeeville’s lead to 20-18 going into the break.
In the second half, Pardeeville (9-11, 6-7) took a 24-18 lead on buckets from senior Callie Brouette, who led the Bulldogs with 13 points, and sophomore Sara Ott, who finished with six points.
Jones started to heat up early in the second half, first making a baseline jumper to make it 24-22, and then drilling a 3-pointer from the right wing to give Cambria-Friesland a 25-24 lead. It was the first lead of the Toppers since they were up 3-2 in the opening minutes of the game.
Jones wasn’t down, as she hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give Cambria-Friesland a 31-27 lead with 9 minutes, 45 seconds left in the game. A few moments later she would hit another one to give her team a 35-30 lead with 6:20 to play.
“(Jones) has really been carrying us the last five or six games for sure, if not most of the year,” said Cambria-Friesland coach John Stettbacher, whose team has now won three of its last four games after suffering through a five-game losing streak midway through the season that all started with a 54-38 loss in Pardeeville on Jan. 9.
Cambria-Friesland looked like it might win with ease after junior Alyssa Raley made a pair of free throws to give the Toppers a 45-37 lead with 1:32 to play, but the Bulldogs still had some fight left in them.
A putback bucket by Ott cut the lead to 45-39 with 1:20 to play. Cambria-Friesland would open the door for Pardeeville to get back in the game when sophomore Haley Olson made one of four free throws to make it 46-39 with 50 seconds left.
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Pardeeville, which struggled to make shots all night, finally made one when senior Skylar Lynch drilled a 3-pointer that made it 46-42 with 38 seconds to go. Then after a Cambria-Friesland turnover on a bad pass, Pardeeville senior Josie DeLapp, who finished with six points, drilled a long jump shot to make it 46-44 with 13 seconds to go.
Following DeLapp’s basket, the Bulldogs tried to foul, but didn’t get the foul called until there was just 1.3 seconds left on the clock. From there, Olson officially put the Bulldogs on ice by making both free throws to give the Toppers the four-point victory.
There were plenty of areas the Bulldogs could look at as reasons they weren’t able to hold on to their early lead, but the one that stands out is poor free throw shooting. Pardeeville made just 5 of 22 of its free throws in the game, while the Toppers were 12 of 23 from the line.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight,” Pardeeville coach Mike Brouette said. “I thought we had too many turnovers, especially in the first half. But credit to Cambria, they came to play and took it to us and got the victory.”
For the Toppers, Stettbacher said one of the biggest keys to the win was his team’s ability to handle Pardeeville’s pressure defense, something it did not do well in the first meeting with the Bulldogs. The Toppers also didn’t shrink when they fell behind early.
“We never gave up,” Stettbacher said. “We were down early and fought back.”
Pardeeville 20 24 — 44
Cambria-Friesland 18 30 — 48
PARDEEVILLE (fg ft-fta pts) – Lynch 1 0-2 3; Brouette 5 2-7 13; DeLapp 3 0-0 6; Guenther 3 2-5 9; Ott 3 0-4 6; Wheeler 3 1-4 7. Totals 18 5-22 44.
CAMBRIA-FRIESLAND – Olson 2 4-10 8; Johnson 2 1-2 7; Raley 1 4-4 7; Jones 8 3-7 24; Drews 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 12-23 48.
3-point goals: P 3 (Lynch 1, Brouette 1, Guenther 1), CF 8 (Jones 5, Johnson 2, Raley 1). Total fouls: P 22, CF 14. Fouled out: Guenther, Ott.