BEVERLY - If there was ever any doubt that one person could coach two basketball teams to great success at the same time, Fort Frye basketball coach Dan Liedtke is dispelling it.
As head coach of the Fort Frye boys' and girls' teams Liedtke has both programs on the winning track, as Fort Frye basketball is a combined 22-2 so far this season.
And with the Cadets winning ball games night in and night out, there's a buzz of excitement surrounding Beverly this winter.
"There's a lot of basketball crazy in this community. I'm just glad to see the people are enthused with it," Liedtke said.
So far this season the Fort Frye boys' are an impressive 10-1 on the season while the Lady Cadets are 12-1.
The losses for Fort Frye basketball have been to two of the area's premiere teams with 10-1 Warren, which only has a loss to state ranked Chillicothe on its resume, knocking off the Cadet boys while Monroe Central's girls, who are 10-2, narrowly edged the Lady Cadets this past weekend.
"I'm happy with where both teams are at," Liedtke said.
Since their 49-40 loss to the Warriors on Dec. 8, the Cadet boys have been playing outstanding basketball against some quality teams.
Fort Frye has picked up wins at Shenandoah, at Caldwell and home against Waterford as the Cadet boys have won eight straight games since their lone loss.
A balanced scoring effort has been key, with senior Garrett Legraen pacing Fort Frye with 13.8 points per game while Shon Smith has chipped in 12. 2 points a contest and Zach Eddy contributes 11.8.
Of course, balanced scoring also applies to the Fort Frye girls, as sophomore Taylor Buchanan leads the Lady Cadets with 12.6 points per game while sophomore point guard Morgan Liedtke is contributing 11.0 points a contest. Two more players, Lacey Huck and Deidra Combs, are averaging about eight points a game.
Balance on offense is something Liedtke wants his teams focusing on, because when the game gets tough there are more options to keep an opposing offense off balance.
"I think both teams are versatile. They are matching up," Liedtke said. "You can't really focus on one player with a box and one or two players with a box and one, or triangle and two, because there are other players that can score."
The Lady Cadets enjoyed a much longer stretch of the season before they finally fell from the ranks of the unbeaten.
It actually took two tries for the game that finally put an 'L' in Fort Frye's record to be played as the Lady Cadets game against Monroe Central as Skyvue Elementary School was postponed twice due to inclement weather.
When the game finally was played, it lived up to the hype that accompanies two of the Pioneer Valley Conference's premiere teams. Monroe Central barely edged the Lady Cadets, 39-36, on Saturday.
Fort Frye has claimed quality wins on the girls side, including a victory over Waterford earlier this season as well as the Lady Warriors and Caldwell's Lady Redskins, who were state ranked at the time.
Earning quality wins like those is more than just the sign of a good program, with quality players and a good coach.
It's also a sign of desire, and Fort Frye has plenty of that.
"I think both teams are really serious about success," Liedtke said. "These teams come in the gym in practice and put everything into it."
While the Cadets are seeing plenty of success, they're not focusing on it.
Instead, the Cadets and the coaching staff are completely focused on the next game, the next opponent and what they have to do to get that win. All the other 'W's are things of the past.
"We're just a little over halfway there (in the season). We've got to continue," Liedtke said.
Continuing the winning isn't easy, because the focus has to be steady every night and there's never a chance for relaxation, particularly for the coaching staff.
"The next night you have a game. You're happy with success, but you just move on," Liedtke said.
Part of the success for the Fort Frye teams is the simple fact that the players on the court are so incredibly familiar with the system they play at the varsity level.
Liedtke has served as the boys' coach for more than 20 years and collected his 400th win earlier this season, and he's worked with the girls from the sophomore class on down since they were in junior high.
Though he worked with the girls at an early age, it wasn't in an official capacity. It was simply because he was asked by youth coaches if he would mind helping out from time to time.
"Anytime coaches wanted me to come in, I'd come in and work with them," Liedtke explained.
Having familiarity with the system has helped both Fort Frye teams this year, and a strong family has helped their coach keep his passion for the game.
"I give a lot of credit to my wife. There's no way it's possible without her," Liedtke said. "I think (to be a basketball coach) you have to have wives that are basketball fanatics, too."
The challenge for Fort Frye basketball doesn't get any easier with the schedule remaining.
Fort Frye's boys face Warren, the only team that has beaten them, on Saturday at Warren while the Lady Cadets will be at Caldwell tonight, weather permitting.
Regardless of the outcome, the main thing Liedtke hopes for his teams is success of every kind, not just on the basketball court, but in life as well.
And on the court, whether it's a win or a loss, the Cadets are looking to make each possession and every minute count.
"You've only got so many games you get to play your high school career. Go out and make the best of it every game," Liedtke said.