BY DAN STICKRADT
FENTON — Coming off its second league loss of the season to Clio, Fenton needed a signature win to remain in the Flint Metro League girls basketball race.
The Tigers recorded such a win Friday night.
Fenton held Holly to under 25 percent shooting from the floor and stymied the Bronchos in order to post a 38-27 league victory.
“We needed something, a bunch of things to happen after that loss to Clio the other night,” said Fenton coach Becki Moore. “We asked them to do a couple of different things and they went out there and did it. This was big win for us.”
The win kept Fenton in third place in the FML and snapped Holly’s nine-game win streak in the process.
Holly, which had not lost since its season opener to Class A state-ranked Hartland, struggled from the field the whole night, routinely missing layups and putbacks. The Bronchos (9-2, 8-1) ran out of steam in the second half despite leading by as many as seven points (19-12) in the third quarter.
After Holly’s Delany Serra swished a pair of free throws with 5:50 to play in the third frame, Fenton (8-4, 7-2) ventured on a 14-2 run to close the quarter and take a 26-22 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Tigers continued to pull away in the fourth frame.
After Holly closed to within 26-24 on a putback from Allyssa Copley, Fenton went on another 10-0 run to go up 36-24 with 1:43 remaining to put the game away.
Defensively, Fenton shut down Holly’s leading scorer, freshman Kaitlyn Smith, holding her to just two points on 1-of-6 shooting. Copley finished the night with nine points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, but was wore down by the deeper Tigers after leaving the floor only once in the second quarter.
“Obviously, (Smith and Copley) are their top scorers and Copley brings so much attention. Anybody that plays them knows that you must spend a lot of energy defending her,” said Moore. “She can handle the ball, penetrate off the dribble and play in the post. You have to limit her touches and I felt we did that better in the second half.”
Copley was held scoreless in the final seven minutes, where the Bronchos were held to just three points in that span. Fenton forced Holly into 20 total turnovers in the contest.
Behind the energetic play of Payton Maxheimer, who finished with 15 rebounds along with three points and a pair of steals, Fenton put together one of its best games of the season.
“The way Holly was playing, this was a big game for us. This keeps us in the race,” added Moore. “I thought we played with a lot of energy. The shots weren’t falling in the first half, but then we went on that run in the third quarter, the shots started to fall and we did a great job on both ends of the floor.”
Katie Conroy scored eight, Ellie Cowger added six points, Sarah Cummings added five points and five rebounds and Hannah Evo chipped in with five points, four assists and four rebounds for the Tigers.
Serra added six points for Holly, which was held to a season low in points and shooting percentage.
“It was one of those nights where we just couldn’t get shot to fall,” said Holly coach David Hall. “We played hard and we had the seven-point lead in the third quarter. But then we couldn’t even get our layups to drop and Fenton is so athletic and they never stopped playing defense. Their defense had something to do with our poor shooting. They were just better than us tonight.”
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