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Fort Frye concludes Big Red’s streak

STEUBENVILLE — When Fort Frye visited the Upper Ohio Valley in December, things didn’t go well for the Cadets, as they dropped a double-digit decision to Wheeling Park.

On Saturday, coach Dan Liedtke and his talented squad made the ride again from Washington County. This time, the results were much better.

Fort Frye put on a 3-point shooting clinic inside the Crimson Center, draining 13 of 27 attempts, in rolling to a 74-34 victory over Big Red.

With the triumph, the Cadets, who are third in the OVAC Class 3A standings, improve to 13-2. Big Red falls to 10-4 but remains in the hunt for an OVAC Class 5A playoff berth.

“We’ve had several games where we hit 11 or 12, but we didn’t have 13 until today,” Liedtke said about his team’s outside shooting performance. “That’s the thing about this team — everyone who steps on the floor can hit a 3.

“Some are very consistent. They have the green light whenever they have a good look but we don’t want our girls forcing shots. You can see their feet are set, and they feel it when they have it. But, what creates that is attacking the basket. You have to be able to attack the basket to get those outside shots.”

The Cadets were nearly perfect from behind the arc in the opening period, swishing 5 of their first 6 attempts. The score was tied at 2-2 when Fort Frye put together an 18-0 run. Fifteen of those points came via the 3.

Hannah Archer connected three times, while Lexie Huck and Mackenzie Dalton supplied the others. Fort Frye, which went 7 for 12 from downtown in the first half, led 20-4 after the opening eight minutes and 40-16 at the intermission.

“We told our girls after the game that Fort Frye girls basketball is like Big Red football,” Big Red coach Jeff Lombardo said. “Every one of their girls started playing at a young age and growing up, they aspire to play for Fort Frye. Their coach has been there a long time, and he basically has assembled an empire down there.

“We put them on the schedule for that reason. I felt we were going to have a good team with a good record coming in. I thought this game would get us ready for the stretch run. Until we get to tournament time, we’re not going to see anyone like this. They are well-coached and disciplined. Their players can handle the ball with both hands, and they all can shoot the 3.”

Archer knocked down five triples on her way to scoring a game-high 22 points. Dalton finished with 18 and Huck 15. Kirsten Kesselring, the only senior on Fort Frye’s roster, contributed eight.

The Cadets finished with 30 field goals, with shooting just three free throws, making one.

“This team has been a work in progress,” Liedtke said. “Now that we are starting to get everyone healthy and everybody back, that makes our bench stronger. With the way we play (full-court defensive pressure along with an up-tempo offense), we have to be at least eight deep.

“We’ve had two losses that we definitely felt we could have won. We got beat by the No. 1 ranked Class AAA team in West Virginia (Park) and by Warren Local, a state-ranked Ohio Division II team. We didn’t take those losses very well. We have gotten better because of them and, if that’s what needed to be, then I am good with it.”

Talented freshman Kylie Maxwell led Big Red in scoring with 13. She also collected a team-leading seven rebounds. Madison Fields scored seven and Maggi Cucarese six, all coming via the long ball.

Fort Frye, a Division IV school, forced Big Red into 21 turnovers. The hosts had more ball-handling miscues (seven) in the opening quarter than they had points.

“They really bring the defensive pressure,” Lombardo said. “It felt like their girls had four or five hands. They are really active on defense and so fast to the ball.

“I knew they could really shoot it and that they would be hard to defend in our man to man defense. I hoped we could get hands in their faces and maybe they’d miss shots. When the game started, they didn’t miss shots. That kind of relaxed them and it just kind of compounded from there. I told their coach after the game when I go to Columbus for the state tournament, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them playing in it.”

GAME NOTE

Khloe Ross netted 11 points and Gwyn Rauch added nine, as Fort Frye recorded a 43-11 win in the junior varsity contest. Sidney Matyas scored four for Big Red.

UP NEXT

Fort Frye: Hosts John Glenn Monday.

Big Red: Travels to Bellaire Monday.

Fort Frye 74, Steubenville 34

Fort Frye 20-20-20-14 — 74

Steubenville 4-12-12-6 — 34

FORT FRYE (13-2): Huck 6 0-0 15; Schneider 0 0-0 0; Zalmanek 0 0-0 0; Medley 2 0-0 5; Kesselring 3 0-0 8; Archer 8 1-2 22; Dalton 8 0-0 16; Ross 3 0-1 6. TOTALS: 30, 1-3: 74.

STEUBENVILLE (10-4): Thompson 0 0-0 0; Gulan 0 2-2 2; Cucarese 2 0-0 6; Maxwell 6 0-0 13; Fields 3 1-1 7; Minniefield 1 0-0 2; Martin 1 1-4 3; Hill 0 1-2 1; Blackwell 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 13, 5-10: 34.

3-POINT GOALS: Fort Frye 13 (Archer 5, Huck 3, Dalton 2, Kesselring 2, Medley); Steubenville 3 (Cucarese 2, Maxwell). REBOUNDS: Fort Frye 19 (Archer 5); Steubenville 22 (Maxwell 7). TURNOVERS: Fort Frye 4; Steubenville 21.

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