Jimmie Pierce led four in double figures with 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Freeman (21-0) topped Lakeside (13-10) 57-41 for the District 7 1A championship at West Valley HS on Wednesday.
Freeman finished play through district undefeated and punched its ticket for the State 1A tournament, starting with the regional round on Feb. 23. The Scotties have been state runners-up the past two seasons.
“We didn’t necessarily set out to (go undefeated), but we knew that we could so it was satisfying to get it done,” said Freeman coach Marty Jessett. “But you can see on the kids’ faces, they’re not satisfied. They want to do more.
“Step one is win league. Step two is a district championship. We’re hoping for step three and step four.”
Lakeside travels to face the Caribou League second-place finisher in a crossover game on Saturday.
Jackson Clark, Michael Coumont and Quin Hopkins all scored 11 apiece for the Scotties.
Maybe it was nerves. Maybe it was the snow that fell overnight and earlier in the day. Whatever it was, both teams got plenty of rebounding practice in the first quarter.
Freeman didn’t have a basket until the 4-minute mark and Dylan Oja’s jumper near the end of the quarter gave Freeman a 9-7 lead after one.
“Really slow start,” Jessett said. “We got lots of really good shots early but I think we were like 1 for 10 on layins in the first three or four minutes.”
Scoring picked up in the second. Coumont nailed a 3-pointer midway through the frame and the Scotties went up 21-14.
Clark made a pair of free throws with 3 seconds left and Freeman led 31-18 at intermission.
Every time the Scotties seemed to pull away, Lakeside inched back.
Early in the third quarter, Landon Harrington and Micah Holmes made back-to-back short jumpers to pull the Eagles within eight, but Clark made good on a three-point play, then Pierce hit a layup and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions and Freeman pushed its lead back to 14.
Lakeside pulled within nine after a jumper by Tristan Cox just before the end of the third quarter.
Freeman then pulled away. Oja hit a short jumper, Hopkins rebounded a miss for a make and Ryan Crosswhite drilled a long 3 and the Scotties built a 16-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
Lakeside cut the deficit to 10 with just over 2 minutes left, but the Eagles didn’t have a late run.
“That’s kind of the way it’s been for us every time we’ve played them (this season),” Lakeside coach Ron Cox said. “We’ve given up small runs but we can’t reel in and get our own run back.
“They’re so good. We have such small margin of error. We just can’t make too many mistakes. I’m happy with our kids. That’s the best we’ve played them.”
Cox paced Lakeside with 16 points and Brycen Chittum added 11.
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