NORTHVILLE - The Northville Lady Falcons constantly put the Fort Plain Lady Hilltoppers' Abby Boyer on the free-throw line and Boyer made them pay.
Boyer scored half of her game-high 24 points from the foul line as Fort Plain raced out to an early lead and held on for a 40-29 victory on the road to remain undefeated after seven games.
"She does a good job," Fort Plain coach Phil Karker said. "That's part of our game plan, to work the ball inside out and try to get some of the post players involved."
Fort Plain’s Allehah Van Loan drives past Northville’s Mary Ryan (24) during Wednesday’s Western Athletic Conference North Division girls basketball game in Northville. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
Boyer scored 17 of her points in the first half and was limited to seven in the second half.
"We just talked about intensity, boxing out and knowing where Kilmartin and Boyer were at all times," Northville coach Dave Bush said. "A couple of times we lost them and Haley hit a 3-pointer."
That 3-pointer came with the Lady Falcons (4-2 overall, 2-2 WAC North) trailing by 11 points and Kilmartin opened up a 14-point lead, 29-15, which was the largest lead Fort Plain (7-0 overall, 4-0 WAC North) held all night.
The Falcons made several small runs in the second half and closed to within 10 points with 2:56 left in the game when Morgan Wilson grabbed a steal and converted into a layup, cutting Fort Plain's lead to 34-24.
But Boyer pushed the lead back to 12 points scoring on a layup after a steal by Kilmartin to push Fort Plain's lead to 12 points.
But the damage was done in the first half as the Lady Falcons sent Boyer to the line 12 times and she hit nine of them. Her game-high 12 converted foul shots turned out to be the difference in the game as the Lady Hilltoppers held on for an 11-point victory.
"In the first half, we didn't box out," Bush said. "She's a tremendous rebounder. She got everything that came off the box and we were out of position and she went to the free-throw line.
The Lady Falcons held their only leads in the game's opening minute when Lyndsey Wadsworth scored on a layup 36 seconds into the first quarter, but Fort Plain's Allehah Van Loan answered 2 minutes later with a jump shot to tie the game.
Emily Krom made a spin move in the paint to restore Northville's lead and Wadsworth widened it to five points with a 3-point bucket.
But that's where Northville's offense went cold and Boyer took over. She hit two of her first four to cut the lead to three points and then grabbed a steal and scored with 3:51 left in the first quarter to cut the Lady Falcons' lead to 7-6.
Kilmartin tied the game at 7-7 hitting the first of two free throws after getting fouled by Krom and with 2:28 to go in the quarter, Boyer put Fort Plain ahead for good with a layup, as she scored six straight points to give the Lady Hilltoppers a 13-7 lead with 1:33 left in the quarter.
Northville's Charlotte Kalkbrenner broke the run with a jump shot with 1:12 left in the quarter.
Fort Plain led by six at the end of the first quarter and 13 and the break, but were unable to break away from Northville in the second half.
"We did get a little complacent and we stopped being aggressive," Karker said. "That's one of the things we're addressing in practice tomorrow. They've done that a lot. They're nice kids. They get up by a lot and they kind of back off."
Wadsworth scored nine of her 14 points in the second half.
"I think the kids played great," Bush said. "Fort Plain's a fantastic team. For us to come back on them, it was tremendous. We still have things to work on. We're still kind of young, but the heart that they've shown me the whole game is what I want."
He just would have liked them to convert some more layups.
"We had a lot of missed layups," Bush said. "We had our chances. We just missed layups. They're a big, physical team. If we make half those layups we missed, we're right there in the game."
Fort Plain 40, Northville 29
Fort Plain15 9 7 9 - 40
Northville9 2 9 9 - 29
Van Loan 1-0-2, Boyer 6-12-24, Kilmartin 2-2-7, Florian 2-1-5, Trembley 1-0-2. Totals: 12-15-40.
Wadsworth 6-1-14, Krom 1-1-3, Kalkbrenner 1-0-2, Moore 1-1-3, Ryan 1-0-3, Wilson 1-0-2, VanNostrand 1-0-2. Totals: 12-3-29.
3-point goals: Fort Plain 1 (Kilmartin); Northville 2 (Wadsworth, Ryan).