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FLYERS OUTLAST AVON, ADVANCE TO FIRST 'B' TOURNAMENT SINCE 2010

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FLYERS OUTLAST AVON, ADVANCE TO FIRST 'B' TOURNAMENT SINCE 2010

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  • Josie Fuhrmann embraces Hannah Eberts after Thursday night's win.

The Freeman High School girls have been waiting a long time to hear this:

They're going back to the 'B.'

In a game that saw 13 lead changes and five ties in the first three periods, the Flyers outlasted Avon in the final quarter to come away with a 46-38 win at the Corn Palace Thursday night, Feb. 28. The game was part of the SoDak 16 and sends Freeman (19-4) to its first state tournament since 2010.

Avon's three-straight state tournament run is over; the Pirates end their season 17-6.

Freeman is Class B's No. 5 seed and will face No. 4 Warner (21-2) at 1:45 p.m. Thursday, March 7 in the first round of the State B Basketball Tournament at the Huron Arena. Win or lose, the Flyers will play again both Friday and Saturday.  

"It's them — it's the girls," Freeman head coach Curtis Sage said of his thoughts as he watched the game clock tick down and he knew they had it in the bag. "I thought about what they are experiencing right now; you could see it in their smiles and on their faces. It's not about me or about (assistant coach Chris) Maske; it's about the girls on the court and the girls on the bench."

The Flyers led 13-9 after one quarter, trailed 18-20 at the half but went ahead 31-28 on a Hannah Eberts three-pointer with 48 seconds left in the third period and never trailed again.

Freeman started the fourth period on a 6-0 run and built a 40-33 lead midway through the quarter — the largest of the game for either team — and held the Pirates to just five points the rest of the way.

Eberts led all scorers with 16 points and junior Emily Miller, who hit a couple of clutch field goals in the third quarter to keep it close, added 12.

But the real story was Freeman's pressure defense, which held highly-touted Lauren Sees to just seven points in the first half and 14 points overall and the Pirates to an uncharacteristically-low 38 points for the game — their third-lowest total of the season.

This was the fifth time in the past six season that the Flyers have been just one win away from advancing to the state tournament, and the only time in those six years they've pulled it off. 

STATE 'B' BRACKET/SCHEDULE

This was the fifth time in the past six season that the Flyers have been just one win away from advancing to the state tournament, and the only time in those six years they've pulled it off. 

Thursday, March 7

Game 1 - No. 1 Ethan vs. No. 8 Waverly-South Shore, 12 p.m.

Game 2 - No. 4 Warner vs. No. 5 Freeman, 1:45 p.m.

Game 3 - No. 2 De Smet vs. No. 7 White River, 6 p.m.

Game 4 - No. 3 Corsica-Stickney vs. No. 6 Ipswich, 7:45 p.m.

Friday, March 8

Game 5 - Losers Game 1 and 2, 12 p.m.

Game 6 - Losers Game 3 and 4, 1:45 p.m.

Game 7 - Winners Game 1 and 2, 6 p.m.

Game 8 - Winners Game 3 and 4, 7:45 p.m.

Saturday, March 9

Game 9 - 7th/8th place, 12 p.m.

Game 10 - Consolation championship, 1:45 p.m.

Game 11 - 3rd/4th, 6 p.m.

Game 12 - Championship, 8 p.m.