ERIE — Erie’s pace was beyond stagnant. Glacial might have been a more fitting term for the Tigers’ first half Tuesday night.
Thankfully, halftime offers an opportunity for adjustments.
Erie made them, both from a strategic and mental standpoint. The host Tigers’ subsequent post-intermission performance was the antithesis of their early struggles, and they went on to defeat rival Frederick 45-31 in a Class 4A Tri-Valley League game.
“They were just sleepwalking through the first half, just watching and waiting,” Erie coach Noel Potter said of his players. “They quit watching and waiting in the second half. That’s all there is to it.”
The Tigers (7-3, 3-1) blitzed Frederick 18-2 in the third quarter, then extended the run to 23-2 in the opening moments of the fourth. All of this came after scoring a mere 13 points in the first half and being fortunate to head to the locker down by only three.
The third-quarter burst was delivered via a sum-of-its-parts concept, as multiple Tigers contributed. Lauren Bauchert scored all six of her points in the quarter, Haley Gallagher added four in the quarter (all nine of her points came in the second half), and Serena Gudino capped the quarter with a banked-in 3-pointer from near the top of the key.
“I think sometimes we get in our heads, thinking ‘We have to win, we have to win,'” said Gudino, a 5-foot-10 junior. “But when we came into the locker room at halftime, our leader Amanda Ochoa just basically said that we need to pick it up. It got to us.”
Gudino led the Tigers with 12 points and teammate Piper Zeier added a game-best 10 rebounds.
Frederick (6-5, 1-3) finally snapped the 23-2 run on a steal and layup by Makenzie Urban, and the Warriors played Erie about even in the final quarter. The damage had been done, though, in the third.
“It looked like they wanted it more than we did,” Frederick coach Roger Dufour said. “We were very stagnant on offense, and their defensive pressure picked up. We gave up a few layups, and it got contagious for them. That’s what good teams do, is they start feeding off each other.”
Urban led the Warriors with 11 points and added four steals, but it didn’t qualify as a standout performance for the 5-6 senior guard who has many of them to her credit.
Urban and Jordan Sleeth fouled out for Frederick in the final minutes.
“I don’t think we ever gave up, but we just weren’t there,” Dufour said. Potter’s lone qualm with the second half was that his players got a little too pumped after each of Gudino’s two 3s, thinking the game was in the bag.
“If we don’t hit our free throws, they’re right back in it,” he said.
The Tigers were 12-12 last season and are well above that pace so far. And they don’t believe they’ve crested yet.
“I was very upset to see people didn’t think we were going to do very good this year, because that’s the same thing that happened last year,” said Gudino, who was playfully booed by teammates during part of her interview. “I mean, I think we can do better, but we’re doing great.”
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Erie 45, Frederick 31
At Erie HS
FREDERICK (6-5, 1-3)
Worley 2 0-2 4, Dufour 0 3-6 3, Neu 2 3-5 7, Urban 4 2-8 11, Reid 0 0-0 0, Haas 0 0-0 0, Sleeth 1 1-2 3, DiGesualdo 1 0-0 3. Totals 10 9-23 31.
ERIE (6-3, 3-1)
Gallagher 3 3-6 9, Ochoa 2 3-8 7, Kudrna 2 0-0 4, Gudino 3 4-7 12, Zeier 2 0-0 4, Bauchert 3 0-0 6, Purcell 0 2-2 2, Campbell 0 1-2 1. Totals 15 13-25 45.
Score by quarters:
Frederick 7 9 2 13 — 31
Erie 7 6 18 14 — 45
3-point field goals — Frederick (2): Urban, DiGesualdo; Erie (2): Gudino 2. Total fouls — Frederick 22, Erie 19. Fouled out — Urban, Sleeth. Technical fouls — Frederick, Coach Dufour.