JAMESTOWN — Frankie Fife made a career high six three pointers Wednesday. But it was a pair of free throws from the Greeneview High School senior that clinched a win over previously unbeaten London in the McDonald’s Tournament inside the Gary Bradds Memorial Gymnasium.
After being fouled while driving to the hoop with 7.9 seconds left in a tie game, Fife calmly swished both freebies and Greeneview didn’t allow a good shot at the other end to escape with a 64-62 win. The Rams (6-1) take on Miami Trace in Friday’s 8 p.m. title game. London (8-1) takes on Madison Plains in the earlier consolation game.
“I’ve been in that situation before,” Fife said of her late-game heroics. “I just told myself to calm down. Step up there and make them.”
She finished with a game-high 26, and for much of the second half it didn’t appear that the final free throws would be necessary. After leading 28-25 at halftime, the Rams led by as many as 12 as Fife and Faith Strickle — who finished with 21 points — swished three-pointer after three-pointer.
But up 56-44 with 6:06 left, Greeneview forgot how to take care of the ball and 10 fourth-quarter turnovers allowed the Lady Raiders to tie it at 60-60 after a 16-4 run.
London’s Darcy Mitchell connected on an awkward floater to give her team a 62-60 lead with 55 seconds left, but then Gabby Boyer backed her way into a nice inside bucket to tie it 16 seconds later. After a miss by London, Fife grabbed the rebound and drove the distance to set up the winning free throws.
“There were a few possessions there where we didn’t get the ball in the right hands,” said Assistant Coach Steve Haines, who was filling in for Head Coach Tim Hoelle. “Breaking that press and getting the ball into Frankie’s hands, that was the key. It wasn’t pretty in the fourth quarter (but) we’ll take a win.”
Greeneview was a bit short on defense after stopper Olivia Maxwell left midway through the first quarter with an apparent knee injury and her absence made a difference.
“She would have been there at the end,” Haines said.
Fife and Strickle were there early and often.
Greeneview built a quick 12-5 lead as Fife scored seven and Strickle five in the first four minutes. London went on an 11-3 run after Maxwell left to take a 16-15 lead on a jumper by Kaitlin Patterson (14 points). A three-pointer by Sylvie Sonneman, a fast break layup from Strickle, and a three-pointer gave Greeneview a 23-16 lead, but London closed the half on a 9-5 run.
Fife made two more three-pointers and Strickle added another early in the third as Greeneview increased the lead to 43-34 with 4:03 left. Fife drained three three-pointers more in the final 2:06 to give Greeneview a 52-42 lead after three.
“I just had the mentality to shoot it tonight,” Fife said. “There’s nothing to lose.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.
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