BELLVILLE — His team hadn’t played a game since Dec. 29. It hadn’t even been able to practice in almost a week, thanks to last week’s icy temperatures and Monday’s snow and ice.
So Clear Fork basketball coach Steve Bechtel was concerned his Colts may come out Tuesday a little rough around the edges against Fredericktown.
His concerns were borne out, as the Colts trailed by as many as 10 points in the second quarter. But Clear Fork pulled it together in the second half, earning a 56-55 non-league victory at the Colt Corral.
The win snapped a two-game losing steak and improved Clear Fork to 6-3. Fredericktown slipped to 2-8 with the loss.
“We haven’t practiced since last Wednesday,” Bechtel said. “The players like the routine and we are way out of our routine. Those touches you get the gym during practice make a difference.”
The Colts had a chance before the game for some work in the gym. It made a difference down the stretch as Clear Fork connected on five of seven free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal the win.
“That’s where the practice comes in,” Bechtel said with a smile.
Clear Fork certainly shot the ball better in the second half than it did the first.
The Colts hit just 10 of 32 field goal tries in the first 16 minutes (31 percent) as the Freddies led 16-14 after one quarter and 27-26 at halftime. Fredericktown had taken a 24-14 lead early in the second quarter before the Colts closed the gap by the half.
The second half was different as Clear Fork shot 53 percent, hitting 11 of 21 attempts. The Colts took a lead they wouldn’t give up when Brady Tedrow scored a conventional three-pointer to take a 34-33 lead with 4:58 left in the third quarter.
Tedrow had seven of his nine points during the third period.
“We ran our one offense in the second half,” Bechtel said of the shooting difference. “We were able to get the ball inside a lot more.”
The Colts built the lead to as many as nine points before the Freddies battled back in the final four minutes to make it close. Leading just 51-50, Tedrow hit both ends of a one-and-one and South hit three-of-four, including two with nine seconds left to put the Colts up by four.
Chance Barnett and Brennan South each had 13 points to lead the Colts. Tedrow had nine and Jay Swainhart added eight.
A trio of Freddies each had 13 points: Anthony Caputo, Xavier Stallard and Nick Cunningham.
Clear Fork shot 40 percent from the field for the game (21-53) and added eight of 14 at the line. Fredericktown connected on 44 percent from the floor (19-43) and added 10 of 13 at the line.
Fredericktown had a 37-25 rebounding edge, but committed twice as many turnovers as the Colts, 24-12.
Clear Fork plays again Friday at home against Marion Harding in a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference contest. Fredericktown hosts Centerburg that same evening.