Frisco hangs on in critical victory over Lions

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Frisco senior forward Jody Nance

Frisco senior forward Jody Nance led the Raccoons with 15 points in Tuesday’s 64-62 win over the Lions on the road.

Despite a ferocious Reedy rally late in Tuesday night’s District 9-5A affair against Frisco, the Raccoons relied on a steady post presence to hang on and tame the Lions, 64-62.

Facing a 13-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter, Reedy chipped away at the lead, but ultimately, Frisco’s size and free throw making down the stretch proved to be the difference.

Post players Jody Nance and Mason Wujek paved the way for Frisco with Nance pouring in a team-high 15 points, along with Wujek’s 14, while the unstoppable duo combined for 16 rebounds.

Although the Raccoons had success shooting from outside in the victory with five makes from beyond the arc, head coach Andrew Steele believes that dominant presence down low was the key.

“Overall, we saw the value of getting the ball inside and getting some paint touches,” he said. “It’s something we have wanted to do all year long, but for various reasons we just hadn’t really been able to get them both on the floor together as much as we would like. But tonight, we did a really good job of focusing on trying to establish things inside.”

With the win, the Raccoons improved to 3-3 in the district standings and gained a much-needed game on opponents above them in the playoff picture, such as Reedy, which fell to 3-2 with the loss.

“Every win is a big win trying to get back into it,” Steele said. “Our nemesis a lot of the time the last few weeks is us looking over our shoulder trying to figure out where other teams are coming from. Instead, we should be doing what got us to a level of success, and to hold on to this one tonight was big. Hopefully that will give some kids some confidence.”

The early goings of this contest had the makings of a back-and-forth battle with both sides exchanging the lead four times.

Reedy junior guard Amaris Fields got hot early and accounted for all of Reedy’s first 11 points, including three makes from downtown, while the rest of his squad struggled in the opening minutes.

Fields’ breathtaking shooting display wasn’t enough, however, to give the Lions the lead after one, as Frisco held a 14-13 advantage heading into the second stanza.

Reedy was able to stay put just before the half by responding to nearly everything Frisco threw at them, but the Raccoons would not squander the lead and limited the Lions to just four 3-pointers the rest of the way after allowing three to fall in the first few minutes of the contest.

“Early on, [Fields] got away from us a couple of times, but we did a much better job of staying focused after that,” Steele said. “What we were trying to do the entire game was not let anybody get stationary, and one of our focal points tonight was to make sure to not let guys just stand around outside.”

Frisco was finally able to gain some separation behind suffocating defense and received a bit of help from the 3-ball as well, as senior point guard Kobe Jones came alive with a pair of triples.

Jones scored six of his 13 points in the third quarter and helped extend the Raccoons’ lead up to double digits at 47-34 as the frame came to a close.

“[Jones] has always been our floor leader and has always been our motor,” Steele said. “Since he’s also really good about finding guys on offense, a lot of times he defers his shot to others. Tonight, they left him open and he stepped up and knocked down some big shots.”

In a losing effort, Reedy junior guard Cody Opoku-Darko notched a game-high 28 points, 17 of which came in the fourth quarter alone. However, the last-minute efforts were too little, too late, as the Lions dropped just their second district outing of the young season.

Reedy looks to bounce back Friday at Centennial, while Frisco hopes to add another win under its belt against second-place Independence.

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