ERIE — In 2014-15, the Erie High girls basketball team lost eight games by fewer than 10 points and Tigers head coach Bill Giampietro identified free throws, specifically a lack of making them, as a major reason why.

Judging by their season-opening win against Weld Central, the Tigers have taken major steps toward correcting their problems at the charity stripe. Hosting the Rebels, the Tigers scored 23 points at the free-throw line on their way to a 52-43 season-opening victory.

"We shot them well, we shot them well," Giampietro said. "All the close games were tough to swallow last season, we've been emphasizing that free throws win more than ever."

As the crowd quieted when the Tigers went to the free-throw line, which they did 30 times on Wednesday night, Giampietro could be heard encouragingly muttering, "There it is," each time a shot went in. By the end of the game, he was calling some of the makes even before they went in.

The Tigers (1-0) scored more than half of their points from the free-throw line and using the foul line to pace a second-half comeback was even sweeter for Giampietro after they shot 19 percent from the field in the first half. Trailing 24-18 at the midway break, the Tigers attacked the Rebels (0-2) with junior Amanda Farineau in the post to lead the comeback.

Farineau scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the second half. Eight of her points were free throws. Tigers sophomore McKayley Green, who totaled four double-doubles last season, recorded her first of the 2015-16 campaign. She finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

"We shoot a lot from the outside because we're a good shooting team," Farineau said. "But once we got it into the post, we were able to get the layups we needed to win the game. Going out with a bang against a good team is a good start."

After finishing last in the Tri-Valley League last season, the Tigers returned five starters from last year's 9-14 club. Despite their relative seasoning, the Tigers trailed most of Wednesday's opener and were tied 37-37 in the fourth quarter.

Farineau put the Tigers up 40-37 with three consecutive made free throws. Green rebounded a missed free throw and put it back in for a layup, drawing a foul and making the free throw to push the lead to 43-37. On the next possession, junior Darby Berringer scored a driving layup for an eight-point lead and the dagger.

"A close game is always exciting," Green said. "We came in a little apprehensive but it's always great to start the season with a win."

The Tigers will look to start 2-0 when they host Skyview (0-1) on Friday.

Brad Cochi: or


Erie 52, Weld Central 43

At Erie H.S.


Izzy Jiner 0 0-0 0, Alysaa Monsey 0 0-0 0, Sydney Baumgartner 0 0-0 0, Isabel Leet 1 0-0 2, Emily Booco 2 0-0 4, Mikayla Brovsky 0 0-0 0, Anita Ballinger 4 1-3 9, Kaitlyn Schmidt 2 0-0 4, Jordan McClure 4 7-12 15, Kelli Carlson 2 1-3 5, Mikayla Rupple 0 0-0 0, Christina Gerken 1 1-5 3, Kaydee Monsey 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 10-23 43.

ERIE (1-0)

Autumn Purcell 1 2-2 4, Kathryn Hounder 0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Patterson 0 0-0 0, Amberlyn Purcell 2 4-6 9, Jade Phillips 0 0-0 0, Amanda Farineau 4 8-10 16, Darby Berringer 3 1-2 7, McKayley Green 3 6-8 13, Annika Turner 1 2-2 4, Adlee Schenbeck 0 0-0 0, Analiese Giampietro 0 0-0 0, Lauren Kia 0 0-0 0, Katy Humble 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 23-30 52.

Score by quarters:

Weld Central (0-2) 10 14 9 10 — 43 Erie (1-0) 9 9 14 20 — 52

3-point field goals — Weld Central (1): Schmidt; Erie (1): Am. Purcell. Total fouls — Weld Central 24, Erie 20. Fouled out — Booco, Carlson.