A fast start and a blocked shot at the end of the game helped Weyauwega-Fremont hand Amherst its first loss of the season.
The Indians outscored the Falcons 18-4 in the first quarter. Amherst cut into the lead by outscoring the Indians 20-10 in the second quarter, but still trailed 28-24 at halftime.
The Falcons cut the lead to 28-28 on a Lindsay Rutz basket in the third quarter, but W-F closed out the period with a 8-2 run to take a 36-28 lead into the fourth quarter.
Amherst’s Marisa Loken hit a pair of free throws with 2:12 remaining to cut the Indians’ lead to 42-40, but W-F pushed the lead back to seven on three free throws from Macey Schoenick and two from Jenni Hellweg.
Amherst wasn’t finished, however, as Hannah Grawey hit a pair of three-pointers in the final minute, the second one coming with 6 seconds left.
The Falcons forced a turnover and had a chance for a last-second shot, but Schoenick came up with the block.
“We did just enough, just enough,” W-F coach Joe Titus said. “You could see tonight why (Amherst) is the No. 1-ranked team in the state. That’s no accident. The intensity was very high, especially in that first quarter. It got a little sloppy at the end, but we were able to do what we needed to against a spectacular team.”
Hellwig and Schoenick led the Indians with 18 and 14 points, respectively, while Jaimee Pitt and Brooke Groholski led the Falcons with 11 each.
All of Groholski’s points came in the second quarter.
“Brooke had a tremendous second quarter,” Amherst coach Jay Pitt said. “We’re struggling, we ran a couple of things for her and she knocked down some big shots.”
“We left Brooke open quite a bit in the first half,” Titus said. “She hit some nice shots for them, but we did a much better job on her in the second half.”
“We did the things down the stretch to make it a game,” Pitt said. “I should’ve called a timeout when she had the steal, but we had just talked in the timeout before that if we get a steal, we need to attack the basket. A freshman gets the steal and wasn’t real sure of herself. Had I called a timeout, who knows what would’ve happened? Jaimee was right next to her and I think if we had given it to Jaimee, she would’ve hit one.”
Each team hit 17 shots in the game, but Amherst took 55 and W-F took 31. On the other hand, the Indians turned the ball over 24 times, compared to nine for the Falcons.
“Everybody knows shooting’s going to come and go, so you’ve got to hope your defense is the constant and can keep you in the game,” Pitt said. “After the first quarter, it did. I knew we could turn them over without question, but we weren’t aggressive enough to start the game and we sat back again in the third quarter. That was the difference.”
Pitt came into the game as the CWC-8’s leading scorer at 19.5 points per game. Loken also held the Indians’ leading scorer, Morgan Wilson, to four points.
“Macey did a spectacular job on Jaimee,” Titus said. “She had 11 points and had to work hard for each and every one of them. Jaimee’s one of those special players. For her to have 11 points, that’s just a testament to what our girls were able to do tonight.”
“I don’t think Jaimee’s missed that many shots in a game in her life,” Pitt said. “Hey, more power to them. They came out, they were ready to play. I told them before the game, ‘You’re the notch on everybody’s belt.’ We can’t show up not ready to go and that’s what we did. After the first quarter, we were ready to play, but you can’t spot them 14 and expect to win.”
“Something else may happen on a normal shooting night, but like I told them, you have to keep your eye on the prize,” he said. “It’s not about this one game right here. We’re absolutely disappointed in the way it finished. Now, we’re in a dogfight to win the conference.”
The Indians improved to 6-2 in the CWC-8 and 10-3 overall with the win, while Amherst fell to 7-1 in league play and 13-1 overall.