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FREDERICKTOWN – North County freshman Ella Gant torched Fredericktown from beyond the arc with six of her team’s 10 3-pointers, including a heave from three-quarters court to beat the halftime buzzer on Wednesday.

Gant nailed three long-distance shots in each half, and finished with a game-high 20 points as eight Lady Raiders scored in a 52-27 victory.

Michaela Mason paced North County (10-7, 2-1) with seven rebounds while adding six points. Stephanie Peterson and Alyssa Huber each scored six.

Mallory Mathes earned a five trips to the foul line, and led Fredericktown (2-13, 0-3) with 11 points. Callista Francis contributed 10 points, while Emmaline Glore notched a game-high eight rebounds in defeat.

The Lady Raiders established stout interior defense from the opening tip, and maintained that presence throughout the contest.

After Mathes recorded the opening basket within the first 20 seconds, North County held the Lady Blackcats scoreless over the following four minutes.

Mathes tallied the first five Fredericktown points until Francis sank a 12-foot jumper from the elbow to make the margin 11-7 with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

North County continuously fired way from beyond the arc, however, and often benefited by recovering the missed shot for second-chance baskets.

The Lady Raiders pulled away late in the first period on a 9-0 run, which was halted by a hook shot from Francis in the post.

Mason threw a kickout pass to Huber, who drained her lone 3-pointer from the corner to claim a 25-15 North County lead. Gant increased the edge to 28-16 at halftime with her fortunate launch.

The Lady Raiders tightened their perimeter defense to generate more turnovers early in the third period.

Francis snapped the cold streak for the Lady Blackcats by notching the first basket of the quarter on a layup with 1:28 on the clock.

North County slowed its pace down the stretch with a sizable lead, but continued to create high-percentage looks. Gant opened the fourth quarter with two 3-pointers within the first two minutes.

Fredericktown forced more turnovers late in the game, and Mathes often got fouled while slashing to the basket in attempt to chip away. The home team went 7-of-16 from the free-throw line, while North County made 6-of-10.

The Lady Raiders will travel to conference rival Central, and Fredericktown seeks its first conference win at Ste. Genevieve on Thursday.

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Sports Reporter

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