ELIDA — Shawnee did not shoot the basketball exceptionally well in its 61-39 Western Buckeye League girls opener at the Elida Fieldhouse on Thursday night.
However, Shawnee’s transition game and dominance on the boards helped pave the way for the convincing win.
Gracie Freiberger led Shawnee (1-2, 1-0 WBL) with 22 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Ania Pearson scored 16 points and pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds. Sydney Burris added eight points and five boards for the Indians.
Neither team shot well from the field.
For the game, Shawnee shot 32 percent from the floor. Elida connected on just 21 percent of its field goal attempts.
However, Shawnee controlled the boards and made the hustle plays, especially in the second half.
“We always talk a lot about our transition game – getting up and down the floor,” Shawnee head coach Rachel Rumbaugh said. “They (Elida) have a lot of nice players. But we really wanted to get into their bench play.
“We talked about how everyone on our team contributed at both ends of the floor. It was a good, quality team win tonight in that aspect.”
Addisyn Freeman led Elida (1-2, 0-1 WBL) with 13 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Payton Kuhn had 11 points. Emma Mitchell scored nine points and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Shawnee jumped out to an early 10-4 lead.
That quick start set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Indians connected twice behind the 3-point line. Freiberger and Burris each hit 3-pointers to jump-start Shawnee.
Shawnee stretched its lead to 19-9 by the end of the first quarter.
Elida struggled from the field in the first stanza, connecting on just 4 of 16 shots from the floor for 25 percent. Shawnee was 6 of 18 from the floor for 33 percent. Freiberger led the way for the Indians with seven points in the first eight minutes of action.
By the halftime break, Shawnee led 31-24.
Shawnee cashed in at the free throw line in the first half, where it was a perfect 8 of 8 shooting from the stripe. For the game, the Indians were 15 of 20 shooting at the free throw line.
Freiberger led all scorers in the first half with 12 points, including two 3-pointers and 4 of 4 shooting from the charity stripe.
Freeman led Elida in the first half with nine points and five rebounds.
In the first half, Shawnee was 9 of 35 shooting from the floor for 26 percent. Elida was 9 of 33 from the floor for 27-percent shooting.
Shawnee dominated the boards in the first half, 29-22. For the game, Shawnee outrebounded Elida 50-44.
Shawnee came out strong after the break, pulling out to a commanding 46-26 lead by the end of the third quarter.
“We crashed the boards. We had two girls in double digits in rebounds on the night. … That’s incredible,” Rumbaugh said. “That’s the big thing with our girls – they don’t quit. They just keep coming at you. No matter how many things go wrong, they’re still going to come after you.”
On the night, Elida committed 16 turnovers. Shawnee turned the ball over 13 times.
“Any win is a good win,” Rumbaugh said. “When you come out and win a league game with four freshmen, it’s good thing.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.