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Basketball

Duchesses cruise in holiday tourney opener

Off to a quick start

DIXON – The Duchesses got off to a fast start and never looked back Wednesday afternoon, winning their Dixon Holiday Classic opener 54-21 over Freeport at
Lancaster Gym.

One after another, Dixon players took passes into the paint and turned those chances into points, scoring 28 of their 54 points on close-range shots.

“We were just setting our good screens and looking into the post whatever chance we got,” Dixon junior forward Zoe Carr said.

The Duchesses had a lot of luck throughout the game hitting players cutting to the basket for easy points.

“On the ball screen, we looked at the roll, and we got a lot of baskets off of that,” Dixon freshman forward Abby Guthrie said.

Dixon (14-1) scored on its first three possessions of the game, baskets in the paint by Gretchen Bushman and Kira Goral and a 3-pointer by Britney Pitzer, to jump out to a 7-0 lead; it eventually stretched to 10-0.

Freeport (2-9) missed its first five shots of the game before finally getting on the board with a cut to the basket by Ally Hasken with 3:40 left in the first quarter. The Pretzels remained cold from the field, shooting 2-for-24 in the first half after missing all 14 shots from the field in the second quarter.

“We came out flat and we just couldn’t wake up,” Freeport coach Kim Johnson said. “Lack of movement at the beginning, I’d say lack of effort. We just couldn’t make a basket. We had a few days off and that didn’t help, but if you can’t score, you can’t win.”

Freeport’s offensive struggles allowed Dixon to build a 29-5 halftime lead, and extend that to 42-12 by the end of the third quarter.

Dixon’s defense was clicking, Carr said, through “cheat-side and hedging ball screens, just calling out screens and getting to the places we needed to get to.”

Poor shooting by Freeport left a lot of rebounds up for grabs at that end. The Pretzels came away with four offensive rebounds in one second-quarter possession, but still came away with no points that trip down the floor.

But even with that run of success for Freeport, Dixon ended the game with a 34-24 edge on the boards, including a 26-12 edge on shots Freeport missed.

Every Duchess who took the floor grabbed at least one rebound, with Carr pulling down a team-high eight.

“I thought we had some really good box-outs,” Dixon coach Luke Ravlin said. “It’s a focus for us on a daily basis in practice, and it’s one of those areas that we’re always trying to improve. I felt like a lot of people did a really good job of boxing out. Kira Goral had some great box-outs. Maddie Pleskovitch had some great box-outs. The whole team did a great job in that respect.”

As balanced as the Duchesses were rebounding, they were just as balanced scoring. All 10 Duchesses scored, with 35 points coming from the Dixon bench. Carr scored 10 points and Guthrie added nine. Neither was in the starting lineup.

“I thought they played a really unselfish basketball game,” Ravlin said. “That’s what we’ve been this year, for the most part. I think finding the open teammate, running the offense, and then just being focused on locking down on defense, and when you do those things, we can be pretty good.”

Guthrie also had a highlight-reel play, missing a shot late in the second quarter, then grabbing her own offensive rebound and cruising through the lane for a reverse layup.

Girls basketball

Dixon tournament

Dixon 54, Freeport 21

Star of the game: Zoe Carr, Dixon, 10 points, 8 rebounds

Key performers: Britney Pitzer, Dixon, 10 points; Abby Guthrie, Dixon, 9 points; Caylyn Kimmel, Dixon, 8 points; Ally Hasken, Freeport, 10 points

Up next: Dixon Holiday Tournament, Dixon vs. Belvidere North, 3 p.m. today

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