FREDERICK — Frederick's Danielle Hemelstrand went airborne to ground Weld Central's momentum.
The senior sprung after a loose ball headed out of bounds late in the third quarter and flipped a savvy behind-the-back toss off a Rebels player while suspended in air, as the Warriors shook off a shaky stretch in the second half to beat the Rebels 55-45 on Thursday night.
An 'A' for effort — Frederick (3-4) adapted with leading-scorer Shea Chavez in foul trouble most of the night. Senior Tori Dufour led the way with 15 points and Chavez scored five of her 10 points as part of a fourth-quarter run that helped the Warriors pull away.
It wasn't pretty. Just scrappy.
Hustling down opportunities and winning the 50-50 chances are all a part of the "small things" the Warriors know they must do if they want to get back to the postseason.
"It really builds up our energy," said Hemelstrand, who finished with eight points. "And without that energy we don't play as well."
It's the small things, "it's the turnovers, it's the steals, it's the blocks, and whenever we get those stops, it helps us."
The Warriors snapped a seven-year playoff drought a season ago, finishing 13-12 while reaching the second round of the 4A bracket. Now with nine returning seniors, they're hoping to add another berth this season — and perhaps, even host a state game of their own.
"This is literally the last time any of us (seniors) will be playing, none of us are going on," Dufour said. "We want it so bad."
After snapping a scoring drought of 4 minutes, 21 seconds with a hoop-and-foul, Hemelstrand ran down her missed free throw as it headed out near the home bench. Her acrobatics helped Frederick retain possession, and moments later she put back a missed 3 from Dufour to give the Warriors a 36-34 lead with 52 seconds left in the third.
In the fourth, Dufour broke a 40-all tie with her fourth 3-pointer of the night and Chavez added five straight points during a 15-5 run to close out the game.
"The seniors have to step up," Frederick coach Brett Andersen said. "This was a night, Danielle especially, she absolutely played our best game tonight for us. And that was contagious."
Earlier, Dufour swished a 3 midway through the second to pace a 70-second, 9-1 run for the Warriors. Lauren Leitner hit a short jumper a few seconds later and a quick turnover led to an easy lay-in for Hemelstrand to put Frederick up 23-18 with 3:04 left in the opening half.
Peyton Putallaz then scored the final four points of the half for Frederick to push the lead to 27-19 before Weld Central (8-5) rallied. The Rebels erased a seven-point halftime deficit and took a 34-32 lead with 1:22 left in the third.
Next up: Frederick will host Holy Family on Jan. 3 to begin league play.
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew
Frederick 55, Weld Central 45
At Frederick HS
Weld Central (8-5)
T. Pippin 1 0-0 2, Sims 3 9-16 17, Jones 1 0-0 2, Defee 0 0-0 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0, K. Pippin 0 0-0 0, Crossen 0 0-0 0, White 0 0-0 0, Daniel 0 0-0 0, Forte 1 6-6 8, Powley 1 1-4 3, Pevler 2 5-9 9, Lang 2 0-0 4.
E. Hurtado 1 0-0 2, DeSantis 3 0-1 6, Leitner 1 0-0 2, Hemelstrand 4 0-1 8, Chavez 3 4-6 10, Dufour 5 1-4 15, Tossee 1 0-0 2, Castillo 2 0-2 4, Putallaz 2 2-2 6, Davis 0 0-0 0, Spahn 0 0-0 0.
Score by quarters:Weld Central (8-5) 10 10 14 11 — 45
3-point field goals — Weld Central (2): Sims 2; Frederick (4): Dufour 4. Total fouls — Weld Central 20; Frederick 26. Fouled out — Chavez. Technical fouls — No technical fouls.