Freeman used a big third quarter run to defeat Palmyra Tuesday in the first round of the MUDECAS Tournament.
The third-seeded Falcons defeated the sixth-seeded Panthers 48-37 to advance to the semifinals. They will now play at 8 p.m. on Thursday against second-seeded Johnson-Brock.
Freeman coach Jim McLaughlin said it wasn't pretty, but they'll take the win against a tough and athletic Palmyra team.
"They get their hands on a lot of passes and they really speed you up," McLaughlin said. "I thought we adjusted well in the third quarter, but you have to tip your cap to Palmyra. I told the guys in the locker room that we have to learn to win these type of games when you take a team's best shot and sometimes it can be ugly, but we were able to do that."
The game remained close in the first half. It was tied 11-11 after the first quarter and Freeman led 21-18 at half time.
The big run came midway through the third quarter. Freeman was clinging to a 28-25 lead, but then scored the next 12 points to open a 40-25 lead.
Blake Kastanek got the run started with a three point play and Logan Anderson followed that up with a fast break lay-up. Michael Gronewold then scored off an assist from Anderson and followed that up with a free throw to make it 36-25.
A three pointer by Gabe Eisenbarth and two free throws by Tyler Adams finished the run.
"It was our best quarter because we took care of the ball best and we rebounded best," McLaughlin said. "When we rebound and take care of the ball, we usually do well. We have a lot of skill players offensively that can do things and we can get good shots, so when we keep the turnover ratio down and get rebounds, we are pretty good."
In the fourth quarter, Palmyra turned up their full court defense and it caused some problems for the Falcons. The Panthers got to within seven at 41-34, but Freeman made enough free throws down the stretch to eventually win 48-37.
"It was good that we built a big enough cushion so we could absorb their little mini run late," McLaughlin said. "I think it would have gotten more interesting if they had got the deficit to four, but we were able to make some free throws and keep it at a three possession game."
Trey Yates led the Falcons in scoring with 13 points, nine of which came in the second quarter. Tyler Adams had nine points, Logan Anderson had eight points, Blake Kastanek and Lane Cacek had five points each, Michaela Gronewold had three points, Gabe Eisenbarth had two points and Jacob Gramann had one point.
Freeman has big wins this season over teams like Falls City Sacred Heart and Auburn, but have some losses that were tough to handle. McLaughlin is hoping for more consistency at MUDECAS.
"Once we figure out how to be consistent over the course of a couple games, this team can be really dangerous," McLaughlin said. "But that's a process and that's part of the maturation of a team -- is figuring out how to be consistent."
Palmyra falls to the consolation bracket and they will play at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday against Tri County at SCC.
Johnson-Brock 62, Tri County 31
Johnson-Brock was able to pull away from Tri County in the second half to move into the A Division semifinals.
The second-seeded Eagles defeated the seventh-seeded Trojans 62-31 and will now play Freeman at 8 p.m. on Thursday in the semifinals.
Tri County got off to a good start and led 9-7 after the first quarter, but Johnson-Brock led 22-18 at half time.
The Eagles extended their lead to 39-27 in the third quarter before allowing just two points to the Trojans in the fourth quarter on their way to the 62-31 win.
Leading the way for Johnson-Brock was Ty Hahn with 20 points while Kaden Glynn had 13, Cole Fossenbarger had nine, Brendon Froisland had eight, and Ben Bohling had six.
Tri County was led by Riley Knust's 10 points while Evan Larson had eight, Cole Siems had five, Creighton Niemeyer had four and Chad Niemeier and Ethan Knust had two each.
The Trojans fall to the consolation bracket where they will play Palmyra at 1:15 on Saturday.
Falls City Sacred Heart 52, Diller-Odell 20
Falls City Sacred Heart jumped out to a 10-0 lead against Diller-Odell and never looked back Tuesday night.
The top-seeded Irish defeated the eighth-seeded Griffins 52-20 to advance to the semifinals. They will play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night against the winner of Tuesday’s late game between BDS and Parkview Christian.
Sacred Heart scored the first 10 points of the game and led 16-2 after one quarter. They extended that lead to 25-6 at half time and coasted to the win from there.
Leading the way for the Irish was Theo Rohrer with 12 points while Drew Bippes had 11, Tyler Witt had eight, Tristan Keithley and Jamie Stice had five each, Jarrot Simon and Jake Hoy had four each and Austin Sells had three.
Diller-Odell’s Peyton Mohr had seven points while Shane Sutton and Austin Jurgens had four each, Conner Klecan had three and Armando Jones had two.
Diller-Odell falls to the consolation bracket where they will play 11:45 a.m. on Saturday against the loser of Tuesday’s late game between BDS and Parkview Christian.