WOLFFORTH — Cassandra Awatt might be known as the best practice free-throw shooter at points during the season, but that doesn’t really mean anything on a bad shooting day. She’ll fall to the back of the line, which is a badge of shame in the Frenship girls basketball program.
A game called free-throw ladder is a big deal for coach Trent Hilliard, and it might have been the saving grace in the Tigers’ 48-43 win Tuesday against Class 2A powerhouse Claude.
Frenship shot 20-for-25 from the line and had only one miss until the game’s final minute.
“We’re all paired and, say I make 20 out of 20 free throws, I’ll be at the top,” said Awatt, a guard who ended with 16 points, including a 5-for-6 performance at the line. “Say my partner makes 19 out of 20, I obviously won. Say next practice we do next free-throw ladder, I’m on top and I get 18 of 20 and the girl that’s going against me gets 20 of 20. She beats me and I start all the way back to the bottom. It’s very crucial we don’t miss free throws.”
Claude (1-1), ranked No. 6 in Class 2A and a regional finalist last season, pushed the Tigers (2-1) at points with a stronger 45.2 field goal percentage than Frenship’s 31.5 percent from the field. It got no more dicey than a 6-0 run to cut a 44-35 Frenship lead down to 44-41 with 1:54 left in the game.
The Tigers’ next trip up the floor killed nearly a minute before Claude, which was already against the bonus, bit the bullet and fouled. Addison Wilson knocked down two free throws to build a two-possession lead and Awatt added another free throw off a steal.
Frenship’s lead never hit double digits. That’s about what it expected from the Lady Mustangs.
“One of the reasons we wanted them on the schedule was their size,” Hilliard said. “We need to see some size because we’re going to see it when we play Permian and Tascosa. We wanted someone who had bigs and who really made us battle underneath. Claude definitely brings that dynamic.”
Hybrid shooting guard and small forward Jenna Cooper, a 6-footer, made Frenship work toward a game-best 21 points. Allison Giles added another 10 points.
Addison Wilson netted 12 points to round out all scorers in double digits for the Tigers.
“We had known their record from last year, 34-and-2,” Awatt said. “They’re always in the running for the state tournament in their region. Straight off the bat, we took them very serious. This is a new group of Frenship girls basketball, so we really have to prove ourselves and take these games seriously. We showed up today.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cassandra Awatt, Jr., G, Frenship
Awatt shot 4-for-5 from the line, recorded seven of the Tigers’ 16 steals, four rebounds and put up the game’s second-best point total.
Jenna Cooper scored Claude’s first 10 points and had the Lady Mustangs six back after a quarter. The deficit never got more than three points worse.
Frenship: The Tigers host a weekend tournament, the Frenship Tournament, which begins Thursday. Frenship is in a pool with Pampa, Trinity Christian and Roosevelt.
FRENSHIP 48, CLAUDE 43
Claude 10 5 11 17 — 43
Frenship 16 4 10 18 — 48
Claude, Jenna Cooper 21, Allison Giles 10, Taylor Fouquet 6, Shiloh Heck 5, Cate Bowles 1. Frenship, Cassandra Awatt 16, Addison Wilson 12, Abre Godfrey 8, Ashlyn Caddel 5, Maci Maddox 5, Haleigh Eliott 2. JV Score: Frenship 68, Claude 8. Records: Claude: 1-1; Frenship: 2-1.