Swartz Creek – Not much went right for Chloe Idoni and the Fenton varsity girls basketball team during the first half of their game against the Dragons at Swartz Creek High School, Friday night.
The Dragons frustrated Idoni, as Fenton’s star post player made just 1-of-5 shots from the field and turned the ball over twice during the first 16 minutes. The rest of the team wasn’t having much more success than that, as the Tigers hit on just 6-of-24 shots from the field, made just 2-of-8 free throws and turned the ball over 13 times in the opening half. However, through it all, the Tigers trailed Swartz Creek just 20-16 at halftime.
Knowing one half doesn’t make a game, the Tigers played more like their normal selves after halftime. They looked like a veteran team with plenty of talented pieces to the squad, nailing 12-of-29 shots, including three treys. Idoni also heated up, finishing the night with a game-high 19 points as the Tigers earned a 45-36 road win in their first Metro League contest of the season.
“We realized our weaknesses,” Idoni said about the team’s talk at halftime. “One thing we were doing was letting them speed us up. … We were just moving more so when we started working as a team, we started to click.”
“They are a veteran team and the biggest part was just getting them to calm down and play together,” Fenton’s varsity girls basketball coach Rebecca Moore said. “We are still working through all of that because we have different people in different spots. We had a little foul trouble. Chloe is not quite 100 percent yet. She’s fine but not in shape. Sam (Whaling) is getting into a groove. When Sam gets into a groove that will change things, too. There are a lot of factors we are playing with right now.”
Idoni suffered an injury late into the volleyball season and is just starting to get back into basketball shape.
Swartz Creek looked like a much improved team from recent seasons in the first half, jumping to an 11-2 lead after a backdoor layup by Aajah Hendrix. Fenton was able to cut the first-quarter gap to just 11-6 when Lauren Murphy hit a jumper with 2:49 left in the first quarter and when Erin Carter hit a breaking layup late in the period. The gap closed to 11-7 when Murphy hit a free throw early in the second quarter, but Swartz Creek built the lead back to eight before the Tigers whittled it down late in the first half. The Dragons led 20-13 after a putback hoop by Hannah Hall, but Idoni hit her only bucket of the first half with a minute left in the second quarter, making a three-pointer and cutting the gap to 20-16 at the break.
During the third quarter the Tigers – and Idoni – were pretty impressive. Korryn Smith was one of many sparkplugs during the quarter, netting two treys and grabbing six rebounds during the third quarter. Idoni also mixed in a three between Smith’s treys, as Fenton suddenly jumped to a 25-22 lead with 5:25 left in third quarter. The Tigers never trailed again. The Tigers hit on 9-of-15 shots in the third quarter and took a 36-27 lead into the final quarter.
The Dragons tried to fight themselves back into the game a few times during the fourth quarter, but the closest they got was 43-36 with 1:36 left in the contest after two free throws by Makenna Gardiner. That lead held until Idoni finished her 19-point effort with a layup late.
“I liked our ability to come back,” Idoni said. “Sometimes we get riled up, but I liked that we could take a deep breath, know we have the potential to do way better than we showed, and we did exactly that.”
Many Fenton players had solid games. Smith had eight points and seven rebounds while Murphy had eight points five rebounds and three steals. Erin Conroy had five points three rebounds and three steals. That trio provided a lot of key hustle plays that either kept the Tigers (1-1) close in the first half or helped the team take the lead in the second half. Swartz Creek looked like an improved team. Hendrix scored 14 points while Cianna Gloster scored 12 points.