FREDERICK — Roster depth and experience seemed meaningless Thursday night as a young Erie squad (9-6, 4-4) battled the seasoned Frederick Warriors (4-11, 1-7) and came home with a win.
It was solid defense and grit, rather, that aided the Tigers in their 54-34 win over the Warriors.
After a slow start for both teams, the Tigers took the lead midway through the second quarter and would hold the lead for the remainder of the game.
Only three Warriors found points in the first half. Senior Tori Dufour, Frederick's top scorer coming into the game, was held to just two points in the first half. Shea Chavez had six points and Adelina DeSantis added three points. The rest of the Warriors would go into halftime scoreless.
A 3-pointer from Erie's Deb Alshuler midway through the second quarter boosted the Tigers to a 16-8 lead and sparked what would become a 21-11 lead at the half.
Despite the 10-point halftime deficit, the Warriors came out of the locker room with something to prove, cutting the deficit to a single point after a Dufour 4-point play. Dufour, who had just two points in the first half, came alive in the second half and finished the contest with 15 points. Dufour and senior teammate Shea Chavez finished with a combined 26 points. The Warriors next leading scorers finished with just three points apiece.
In the final quarter of play, fatigue set in for the Warriors as the Tigers remained unfazed by the back-and-forth play. Tiger defense remained strong until the final buzzer and proved to be the determining factor in the team's much-needed league victory.
Senior Lauren Kia contributed three points in the second half, but it was her defense that coach Sarah Pfeifer appreciates from the veteran player.
"Lauren Kia sticks the best player every night," Pfeifer said. "She's not a huge offensive threat, but she knows her role and she plays it well. It's been huge for us. It was something I wasn't banking on at the beginning of the season but she's embraced the role and has done a great job for us."
The Tigers started league play 2-0 but would go on to lose the next four league games, three of which at home. The Tigers broke the four-game losing streak on Tuesday in a 59-45 win over Mead. After tonight's victory, a losing streak that nearly defined the team is now a distant memory.
"We play with great intensity every game," Pfeifer said. "We want to keep doing what we're doing because we've been playing pretty good basketball."
The young and determined Tiger squad now faces an opportunity to win their third consecutive league game against Fort Morgan on Saturday and let the Tri-Valley know they mean business.
The Warriors fall to 1-7 in the Tri-Valley League after tonight's loss and will face yet another challenge on Saturday against Holy Family.
Nate Samson: twitter.com/natesamsn
Erie 54, Frederick 34
ERIE (9-6, 4-4)
Moyers: 2, 1-2, 7 Erbe: 3, 2-4, 8 Morrow: 0, 0-0, 0 Kia: 1, 1-2, 3 Hefner: 5, 1-3, 11 Barnett: 0, 1-3, 1 Alshuler: 4, 0-1, 9 Patterson: 3, 2-2, 10 Welty: 0, 1-2, 1 Berringer: 1, 0-1, 2 Hill: 1, 0-0, 2 Chambers: 0, 0-0, 0; Totals: 20, 9-20, 54.
FREDERICK (4-11, 1-7)
Chavez: 5, 0-0, 11 Dufour: 5, 1-1, 15 DeSantis: 1, 1-2, 3 Neu: 1, 1-2, 3 Hemelstrand: 1, 0-0, 2 Totals: 13, 3-5, 34.
Score by quarters:Erie 8 13 10 23 — 54
Frederick 7 4 12 11 — 34
3-Point Goals — Erie (5): Moyers 2, Alshuler, Patterson 2; Frederick (5): Chaves, Dufour (4). Total fouls — Erie 12, Frederick 15.