Fort Frye's boys basketball team got beat by a better team in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 2-A title game, and it knows it.
The Pioneer Valley Conference champion Cadets (18-2) also know that their 52-41 loss to Wheeling Central at Ohio University Eastern in Belmont last Saturday morning was a good postseason tune-up game.
"This was a good lesson," said FFHS head coach Dan Liedtke.
"Normally, when you're in regular tournament play, and you get to this point and this happens to you, you're done. We looked at this as a district/regional-like game.
"This was good for us, because it's going to prepare us for the things we need to work on to get better at for the state tournament run."
Fort Frye is scheduled to tip off Ohio Division III sectional tournament play against Buckeye Trail at Meadowbrook High in Byesville March 5.
During the season, the defeated the Warriors twice.
Needless to say, FFHS has plenty of time to polish its game.
Against Wheeling Central, Fort Frye probably relied too much on the three-point shot. Thing is, the Cadets are one of the better shooting teams in the area from behind the arc.
FFHS has a plethora of three-point threats in Brandt Thieman, Jarrod Arnold, Tyler Stevens and Jarid Bates. But against the Maroon Knights, their shots weren't falling.
The Cadets were 4-of-21 from behind the arc.
"We've had this problem before with this team, instead of attacking the basket and just going for the three," Liedtke said. "We've learned this lesson before, and it looks like we'll have to learn it again.
"It's an inside-outside game, and we have to execute our offense much better than what it is. We have to do a better job of screening and breaking off screens."
When Fort Frye penetrated against Wheeling Central, good things usually happened, especially when Stevens had the ball.
Stevens scored a game-high 15 points with many of them coming off baseline drives. If he didn't make the basket, he got fouled and made the freebies.
"Tyler Stevens did a great job of breaking and getting in there," Liedtke said.
"But one player's not going to be able to do it.
Fort Frye is far from a one-player team, and talented and smart enough to make a state tournament run.
The Cadets probably won't be facing many teams in Ohio tourney play better than Wheeling Central, the defending Class A champion in W.Va.
"Sometimes you've got to play a team like this to wake you back up," Liedtke said.
n After the OVAC 2-A championship game, Liedtke was asked if playing in the morning "was a little strange."
"I don't look for any excuses," the Fort Frye coach said.
"They (Wheeling Central) had to get up in the morning, too.
"I realize we had a long trip this (Saturday) morning, but...we went to some tough team camps, shootouts over the summer, and you had to play in the morning then, too."
"I will say this, though," he said. "At the beginning of the year, we never did play very well in early morning scrimmages.
"But that's just something you have to overcome."
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441, or at email@example.com