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Clinton Township

December 11, 2013

Fraser downs Chippewa Valley

Late threes by Julia Stewart propel Fraser to victory

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Fraser’s Julia Stewart dribbles while Chippewa Valley’s Kamynn Ma’a defends during a Dec. 6 game.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The best way to break out of a shooting slump is simply to keep on shooting, and that’s what Julia Stewart did Friday night to guide Fraser to a 25-24 victory against Chippewa Valley.

Stewart was 1 for 8 from the field before making consecutive baseline 3-point jumpers with about four minutes to go in the game. Her baskets turned a 22-19 deficit into a 25-22 lead, and Fraser cranked up its pressure defense to prevent Chippewa from retaking the lead.

“It was rough in the beginning, but then I got warmed up and they started going in,” Stewart said. “It felt good. We really needed it, and I just felt like I needed to pull through for our team and get some points there.”

Stewart led Fraser with nine points; Linda Preni added seven points and five rebounds. Hallie Gordley had five steals for the Ramblers.

“Any win is a good win. With this group, any win is going to be great. I know that we’re going to get better as the season goes on,” Fraser coach Dave Kuppe said. “This team has very little experience. The five starters played last year, and that’s it. They’ve not been on the varsity for more than a year, so it’s a big learning curve this year.”

Chippewa jumped out to an 11-7 lead after the first quarter, but the Big Reds’ execution faltered when Fraser turned up its intensity on defense.

“I think we just have to make better decisions in the long run, overall, collectively,” Chippewa coach Jackie Maurer said. “We turned the ball over when we had the momentum a little bit, and we lost some opportunities to score, so I think that if we just do a better job of taking care of the ball in critical game situations, we’ll be able to score on those possessions.”

Kayla George scored seven points to lead the Big Reds; Grace Cooke added five points and six rebounds.

Chippewa’s Kayla Hart forced a Fraser turnover and scored on a layup to cut the deficit to one with 1:33 left in the contest, but that bucket would close out the scoring for the Big Reds, while Fraser was able to get enough stops defensively to seal the one-point victory.

“I think it was partly stamina and execution. We had a couple of missed layups and a couple of great opportunities that we missed offensively down the stretch,” Maurer said. “Our free throw percentage was pretty low, so that’s also something we can improve on.”

In the end, it was those two big jumpers by Stewart that proved to be the difference.

“We finally got the right person open in the right spot, and she (Stewart) made the shot,” Kuppe said. “They started covering her a little bit tighter, and then we obviously ran some screens for her at the end to get her some open looks, and those two threes were the big difference in the game.”

Fraser (1-1) went on to host Royal Oak in a game played on Dec. 10, after press time. Chippewa (0-2) hosted Port Huron Northern that same evening. Stay up to date on coverage of all winter sports by visiting our website, candgnews.com/sports.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.