HORTONVILLE (WLUK) -- The Hortonville girls basketball team was coming off a great offensive performance in its last game and was feeling pretty good entering Thursday's Fox Valley Association game with Appleton East.
The Polar Bears were coming off an 80-point performance in a win over Neenah in which it shot 63 percent from the field, including 13-for-17 from the 3-point arc.
That performance on Tuesday didn't carry over, however. East made Hortonville work for everything it got, but in the end it was enough. Hortonville struggled on offense but edged the Patriots, 47-45, as Shay Frederick buried two free throws with 5.4 seconds left to clinch the win.
"Appleton East is a well-coached team, they play hard as anybody,” Hortovnille coach Celeste Ratka said. “This was a good win.
“Obviously a lot of lessons were learned, which I was really pleased about. Sometimes you learn through losing but you can also learn through winning.”
Frederick entered the game averaging 26.5 points in the first two games, but East wasn't going to let her beat it. The Valparaiso recruit scored just two baskets and tallied 10 points, but the Polar Bears received contributions from many players, which was key.
“She got two quick fouls in the first half and it took her out of her rhythm,” Ratka said. “We talk about it all the time, being able to win and having that balance.
"I just don't think our young kids have been in a situation like that on a stage like this, on the varsity court, so they kind of clammed up a bit and thought about the outcome instead of just worrying about their execution.”
Hortonville (3-0), ranked No. 2 in the FOX 11 Top 11, led 41-25 in the second half and seemed in control. Then, East went on a 20-4 run to tie the game at 45-all in the final minute.
In the final seconds Frederick was looking for the game-winning points as was fouled. She calmly hit two free throws with 5.4 seconds to play.
"It didn't feel any different," Frederick said in regards to comparing to shooting free throws earlier in the game to late. "There was no reason why I should miss. I just went there with confidence. I knew the team had my back, so I just went to the line and put them in."
Hortonville's Macy McGlone then blocked Lexi Schneider's game-tying attempt as time expired to preserve the win.
“Each game is different,” Frederick said. “We shot 63 percent last game and this game we can’y buy a shot. It’s just adjusting each game and trying to find a way. Today we made a play defensively at the end.”
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay