Girls basketball: Batavia’s Liza Fruendt thrives in team’s uptempo offense
By Paul Johnson For Sun-Times Media December 10, 2012 9:26PM
Batavia junior Liza Fruendt splits the defense of Minooka's Alexa Hinkleman and Sydney Arlis during Monday's game at the Oswego Holiday Classic. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 12, 2013 6:19AM
Batavia junior Liza Fruendt showed enough promise last season to earn Beacon-News First Team All-Area honors while averaging 14.2 points per game.
But Bulldogs coach Kevin Jensen knew she would be able to do even more this season.
“I knew she’d take a huge leap from last year,” Jensen said. “She showed she can be explosive and score over 20 at any time last year (she topped 20 points seven times last year). What she’s done is eliminate the games where she scores three or four points, just not in the flow of it. That’s been huge for us.”
Fruendt is averaging around 19 points per game this season, leading the Bulldogs to an 8-3 start to the season after Monday’s 70-38 win over Minooka at the Oswego Holiday Classic. And even she can tell the difference from last season to this season.
“Going from an underclassman to an upperclassman, you can definitely feel the difference,” Fruendt said. “I was doing a lot of things for the team last year, but it’s a lot different. It feels great to be able to come out here and do what I can do and do whatever I can to help the team.”
Fruendt displays a lot of the basketball smarts and skills exhibited by her older brother, Nick, the former Batavia star that played four seasons at Northwestern. But it comes from hard work.
She stars on the Illinois Lady Lightning AAU team over the summer, but she still found time to do Batavia’s entire offseason program as well. That means that while most of her classmates were enjoying their summer vacation, Fruendt was in the gym just about every day, which she credits for her success so far this season.
“She’s pretty much nonstop basketball,” Jensen said. “It’s really showing this year. She’s been playing really well.”
The Lightning likes to get out and run, which has translated to this year’s Batavia squad. The Bulldogs have already had a handful of 70-point games this season, a high total in high school girls basketball. Fruendt’s skill set, which included a deft outside touch as well as the ability to get to the basket and create open shots for her teammates, suits her perfectly.
Despite the fact the team only has eight varsity players this season (many juniors elected to concentrate on other sports, stripping down the roster), the Bulldogs have been able to maintain their rapid pace night in and night out during their 8-3 start to the season.
“This team is so much fun,” Fruendt said. “People are like, ‘You only have eight girls,’ but it’s so much fun. We gel really well together and have a lot of fun. When you’re doing good things off the court, you’ll do good things on the court. It’s a lot of fun. We’re doing really well together.”