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The emphasis during the 7-1 start to the season for the Batavia girls basketball team has been tenacious pressure defense leading to easy offense.
The Bulldogs put that mantra on display in Thursday’s 63-39 Upstate Eight crossover win over Waubonsie Valley.
Batavia harassed Waubonsie into 14 first-half turnovers and shot 18-of-29 from the field, jumping out to a 38-6 lead and never looking back.
“We basically said zero about offense,” Batavia coach Kevin Jensen confirmed. “(VCU coach) Shaka Smart said I have a binder two inches thick full of plays, but I’d love it if we didn’t run one of them, we just play unbelievable defense and the offense comes off of it. That’s what I liked about the first half. That was the best part.”
Senior Liza Fruendt scored nine of her game-high 25 points as Batavia jumped out to a 13-0 lead right out of the gates.
After Waubonsie (0-8) cut the lead to 17-6, Batavia responded with a 22-0 run to put the game away. Three baskets each from Fruendt, Erin Bayram and Hannah Frazier keyed that run.
“Right away, we knew what we had to do and we got it done,” Fruendt said. “Nothing held us back. We just did what we know how to do.”
A shorthanded Waubonsie team, still missing two starters due to injury and just getting three players back from a week-long illness Wednesday, didn’t come alive until a 7-0 run late in the second quarter.
With the pressure off and Batavia’s reserves in for much of the second half, the Warriors kept things fairly even the rest of the way.
“I wish we could do that (the 7-0 run) before we were down 38-6,” Waubonsie coach Dave Owles said. “It would be nice to start playing earlier. When the 7-0 run goes from down 32 to down 25, we’re still down 25. We have a real problem coming out in the first half ready to play and we just dig ourselves these holes.”
Junior Rachael Pedersen scored eight points to lead the Warriors.
Fruendt shot an economical 10-of-14 from the field in just over a half of action, including 5-of-7 from three-point range, for her 25 points. Bayram and Frazier each added 11 points, with Bayram grabbing seven rebounds.
“Because of our make-up last year, we shot a ton more threes,” Jensen said. “Tonight, we did a great job getting the ball to Erin. Liza got the ball to the hole, but she also hit her outside jumpers. That’s a little difference between this year and last year. If Liza is getting layups and all of a sudden she hits a three, that’s a back-breaker.”