FAIRBANKS — The North Pole High School girls basketball team didn’t have special free-throw shooting sessions in recent practices, but their work at the line was instrumental in Tuesday night’s victory over the visiting Lathrop Malemutes in a Mid Alaska Conference doubleheader.
The host Patriots prevailed 39-35 and among their 15 points in the fourth quarter, 11 came at the free-throw line. The fourth-quarter free throws accounted for most of North Pole’s 15-for-21 effort in the game from the charity stripe.
“There really wasn’t an emphasis (before the game) on free-throw shooting,” Patriots head coach Mason Campbell said by phone. “We do free-throw shooting every day and the girls have gotten better at it, improved in every practice.
“They put it in game speed tonight and it came through in the clutch for them in the game,” Campbell said.
The Lathrop boys squad made it a split with a 69-43 win over North Pole.
Alix Parker scored seven of her team-high 11 points at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter for North Pole.
Parker sank a pair of free throws with 3.7 seconds in the game to seal the win.
Jasmin McCormick contributed 10 points, with five from the line. McCormick, who shot 4 for 5 from the line in the fourth quarter, was recently switched to a guard position after starting the season as a forward and center.
“She had never been a guard but we moved her since we lost so many players throughout the year,” said Campbell, who lost one player to an injury and three others to violations of team rules.
“She did an amazing job tonight of handling their pressure and playing really well,” Campbell said of McCormick.
Paige Chmura collected 12 rebounds and chipped in eight points for the Patriots, 1-2 MAC and 3-15 overall.
Alexis Shipman led Lathrop with 11 points and Muffin Searles added nine.
Terrell Ford had 11 rebounds to go with his team-high 15 points for Lathrop, which built on a 27-20 halftime lead.
The Malemutes also got 12 points apiece from Kyle Carlson and Cole Berner.
Berner’s total included a pair of 3-point baskets and Carlson had three blocks.
Statistical information for North Pole was not available at press time.
Contact sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586 or follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.