VINCENT - For one half of play, the basketball hoops of Warren High School were sealed tighter than the Fort Knox vault.
Problem was, the Fort Frye Cadets gave Warren junior Reece Patton the key.
After shooting just 6-of-26 from the field in the first 16 minutes of play, the Warriors found their offensive life behind Patton to roar back from a one-point halftime deficit to claim a 56-37 win over the Cadets in Vincent Tuesday evening.
KEVIN PIERSON Special to The Times
Fort Frye's Chandler Lang (31) looks to get around the defense of Warren's Michael Hall (23) during the second quarter of a basketball game in Vincent Tuesday evening. Warren beat Fort Frye 56-37.
"We started running our plays. After that, we could kind of get in a little rhythm," said Patton, who finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and a trio of assists.
Trailing 16-15 at the break, the Warriors found their offense, with Patton leading the charge by hitting 5-of-5 field goals in the third quarter as Warren went on a 21-2 run to suddenly lead 36-20 heading into the fourth.
"A great team like Warren, you hold them to 15 points in the first half, they're going to score something else in the second," said Fort Frye boys' basketball coach Eric Henniger.
Fort Frye 37
Fort Frye 10 6 4 17 - 37
Warren 11 4 21 20 - 56
FORT FRYE (1-1)
Shon Smith 4-17 3-5 11; Caden Brooker 1-2 1-2 3; Jordan Anderson 2-8 2-4 7; Seth Legraen 3-11 2-2 8; Chandler Lang 3-8 2-2 8; Tyler Norris 0-0 0-0 0; Kyle Hesson 0-1 0-0 0. Team 13-47 10-15 37. 3pt goals 1 (Anderson 1).
Evan Yabs 0-1 0-0 0; Danny Pannell 0-4 0-0 0; Michael Hall 2-8 0-0 5; Evan French 8-23 4-5 21; Reece Patton 8-10 0-2 19; Dylan Leffingwell 1-1 0-0 2; Adam Lang 1-5 1-2 3; Matt Drayer 2-3 0-0 4; Andrew Drayer 1-1 0-0 2. Team 23-56 5-9 56. 3pt goals 5 (Patton 3, French 1, Hall 1).
Fort Frye: Shooting 13-47 (28 percent); 3pt shooting 1-15; Rebounds 29 (Legraen 9, Lang 8); Assists 7 (Smith 3, Anderson 2, Lang 2); Steals 4 (Anderson 2); Turnovers 18; Blocks 3; Total fouls 10
Warren: Shooting 23-56 (41 percent); 3pt shooting 5-17; Rebounds 35 (Patton 10, French 8); Assists 15 (Pannell 5, Hall 4, Patton 3); Steals 13 (Patton 4); Turnovers 12; Blocks 1; Total fouls 17
JV score: Warren 45, Fort Frye 40
Fort Frye: Carter Kiefer11; Isaac Klinger 4; Devin Brooker 2; Tyson Niceswanger 6; Carter Lang 5; Derek Layton 7; Logan Madison 5
Warren: Aaron Mazurkiewicz 2; Seth Hall 3; Blake Kidder 10; Collin Welch 6; Marshall Church 3; Andrew Drayer 11; Eli Mallahan 10
That something else turned out to be 41, as Patton and junior teammate Evan French began to show some offensive life in the final two stanzas.
"I got into them pretty good at half. I told them, 'hey, no reason why we can't put up 50 points in the second half,'" said Warren boys' basketball coach Blane Maddox.
It took the Warriors just 14 seconds of play in the second half to take the lead for good, as Patton drilled a three-pointer off an assist from Danny Pannell.
That was followed 37 seconds later by French's putback bucket, and after a missed shot at the other end by the Cadets, Patton hit a jumper from the top of the key for a 22-16 Warren advantage, prompting a Fort Frye timeout.
"That roll that we got on offensively gave us that boost," Patton said.
While the Warriors offense got rolling in the second half, the Cadets' remained in hiding against the Warren defense, which did not allow a Fort Frye field goal in the third quarter.
"They came out on fire and we didn't counter that," Henniger said. "We came out ice cold."
Following their dismal 23 percent shooting performance in the first half, the Warriors hit 9-of-17 shots in the third quarter and 8-of-13 in the fourth to pull away, helping to offset the sluggish start.
"We've got good shooters, but you can turn yourself into a bad shooter with a bad shot, even if you're a good shooter," Maddox said.
Out of the Fort Frye timeout, the Warriors again caught lightning as Patton hit another three off Pannell's assist and French, who recorded a game-high 21, converted a steal into a layup for a 27-16 advantage with 5:53 in the third.
Fort Frye would manage just four free throws to counter the nine Warrior buckets, including Patton's two treys, as the Cadets went 0-for-6 in the period and 5-for-22 in the second half against the Warren defense.
"Defense is the first thing we have to do," Patton said. "If you can't play defense, you can't play offense."
Warren pushed the lead out to 19 points on senior Dylan Leffingwell's bucket with 7:04 in regulation. The lead would get no bigger until Michael Hall's three with 17 seconds to play gave the Warriors their largest lead of 21 points.
Chandler Lang's bucket with 7 seconds on the clock set the final score.
While the second half offensive explosion for the Warriors turned the contest into a rout, the first 16 minutes were fiercely contested, with the Cadets holding the upper hand early.
Fort Frye scored the game's first eight points as Warren opened the game going 0-for-7 from the field. Out of a timeout with 2:55 in the first quarter, the Warriors would hit 4-of-6 shots to lead 11-10 after one period.
The second quarter saw a grand total of five field goals combined, but the lead would also be exchanged five times in the period, with Fort Frye taking its final lead of the game into the break on Caden Brooker's bucket.
And in the span of a 10 minute halftime, the Warriors broke into the vault and rolled away with the game, while keeping the Cadets on the outside looking in at the offensive explosion.
"I'm glad we got to face a defense like this (Warren's) early in the year, because it shows what we need to improve on," Henniger said.