By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
PLEASANT VALLEY —
When East Fairmont coach James Beckman took over as head coach for the Lady Bees, one of his, and the team’s, goals was to reach double-digit wins. After a 46-44 win over Elkins Thursday night at East Fairmont High School, that goal was accomplished.
“That’s a little incentive for them,” Beckman said of the regular season-ending win. “That’s a positive going into the sectional for us and going into next season.”
With a young team, someone new is bound to step up at key parts. Thursday night it was freshman Lauryn Antolock, who was faced with the task of defending Elkins’ best scorer.
“This is the last game of the season, and I don’t consider her a freshman anymore. She’s a rising sophomore,” Beckman said of Antolock, who simply goes by the nickname of Lock on the court. “She’s seasoned now. We expect her to play like she’s an upperclassmen. We put her against those matches against teams’ top players at times, and she’s very capable. She’s picking up confidence.”
If Antolock’s nickname wasn’t a representation of her defensive style of play, it will be after Thursday night’s contest. She was able to come through when her team needed her, putting pressure on Logan Dudley late in the fourth quarter, forcing the forward to the foul line rather then allowing her to put up shots in the paint. Despite scoring a game-high 20 points, Dudley was just 2-of-7 from the foul line.
“It’s a pretty big deal coming in as a freshman. You have to step up and play like you’re not a freshman,” the 5-foot-11 forward said. “I get so much expected of me, and tonight I think I delivered with my defense.”
After being outscored 12-7 due in large part to Dudley, who scored eight of her points in the first period, East Fairmont locked in late in the second quarter to fight back.
Led by Bailey Frederick, the Lady Bees went on a 14-2 run to end the quarter and take a 21-19 lead into the locker room.
Down 17-7, Frederick kicked the run off with a 3-pointer. The sophomore guard wold score seven of her team-leading 16 points and had two key assists to teammate Felicity VanGilder during the run.
“We just all tried to work together as a team,” Frederick said. “We’re just getting better.”
Frederick’s night wouldn’t end in the second quarter, though.
With the Lady Bees trailing 40-39 with just over a minute left, Frederick nailed a 3-pointer to put her team ahead by two in the game’s final minutes.
“Big,” Beckman said of the shot. “It was huge.”
Frederick also added four assists and three steals on the night.
Then, with 31.3 seconds left, Frederick drilled two key free throws put East up, 44-41.
East Fairmont would hold on for a 46-43 victory.
Joining Frederick in double figures was VanGilder, who just missed a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
With the sectional tournament coming up, Frederick said finishing the regular season out with a win gives them some confidence.
“It was definitely good to win our last game of the regular season,” she said. “Everyone is against us. We have nothing to lose going into Wednesday. We’re just going to give it our all.”
The Lady Bees wrap up the season with a 10-11 record just one season after winning just seven games. They’ll play North Marion Wednesday night on the road to kickoff the sectional tournament. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Email Matt Welch at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.