FREDERICK — Frederick’s Jayden McGraw left his gym Friday night by making a right turn and exhaling a big sigh of relief.
His team survived a fourth-quarter free-throw shooting contest to beat Silver Creek 64-54. McGraw scored 14 points to lead the Warriors. Alex Therrien added a dozen.
But if ever there was a doubt why basketball teams practice free throws ad infinitum, Friday’s game might erase any questions. The two teams combined to shoot 45 free throws in the fourth quarter. McGraw scored eight of his points in the last frame, six of which were from the free-throw line. Therrien scored five of his points in the last quarter, all from the free-throw line.
Everyone seemed to get in on the act, including sophomore Chelton Lebon, who converted three of four charity tosses in the last minute of the game.
Needless to say, it was a physical game, and the Warriors knew it would be.
“No. 33 (Austin Hartman) started hitting me right away,” Therrien said. “We expected it. We knew they were going to try and get us out of our game.”
“We kept our composure,” FHS coach Larry Frank said. “We have not made it to the free-throw line very often this season. And when we do, we don’t knock them down. Chelton LeBon hit a few big ones for us down the stretch.”
“We knew it would be tough because of the football game (Frederick upset Silver Creek this fall),” Therrien said. “We made a lot of shots. The gym was loud. Momentum switched, and they hit a few shots. It was a good momentum game, I thought.”
FHS had 14-point lead late in the second quarter. By the end of the half, the lead was five points. By the end of the third quarter, the Raptors caught the Warriors at 36 and took three, 3-point leads in the fourth quarter.
Then the foul shots began.
“We missed more than we wanted to,” Therrien said. “But we made enough to get by.”
“What surprised me was their zone defense. It threw us off,” Frank said. “We practiced against their man offense before the game. We didn’t move the ball well offensively.”
“A win like this helps us to know we can keep our composure in games like this,” Therrien said. “Hopefully, we’ll get better.”
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