BEVERLY - Backs against the wall. Game on the line.
When the Fort Frye Lady Cadets needed the clutch shots down the stretch against rival Waterford Saturday evening, they got them. And the result transformed what had been a one point lead with less than four minutes to go into a 57-49 win over the Lady Wildcats in Beverly, even if it wasn't as smooth as they would've liked.
KEVIN PIERSON Special to The Times
Fort Frye's Brooke Borich (14) and Deidra Combs (32) trap Waterford's Taylor Hilverding (middle) in an attempt to steal the basketball during the second quarter of a contest in Beverly Saturday night. Fort Frye defeated Waterford 57-49.
"When it had to be done, we did it, but we weren't doing things before that that would've kept us from that situation," said Fort Frye girls' basketball coach Dan Liedtke.
While the Lady Cadets made their plays down the stretch, Waterford had no intention of backing down from its cross-river rival.
Just two days after suffering one of their worst losses in the last decade, the Lady Wildcats determined they were going to show they were a better team than the one on the court in Reedsville.
Fort Frye 57, Waterford 49
Waterford 13 15 12 9 - 49
Fort Frye 15 9 14 15 - 57
Hannah Dailey 1-2 0-0 2; Taylor Hilverding 4-9 4-6 12; Chelsey Paxton 4-6 2-2 10; Brooke Drayer 4-15 0-0 10; Dani Drayer 1-10 0-0 2; Sam Farley 0-0 0-0 0; Regan Porter 1-2 0-2 2; Randee Seevers 4-6 0-0 11. Team 19-50 6-10 49. 3pt goals 5 (Seevers 3, B. Drayer 2).
FORT FRYE (5-0)
Brooke Borich 4-10 0-0 11; Micayla Hupp 4-6 1-1 9; Morgan Liedtke 1-2 2-2 5; Taylor Buchanan 6-13 3-6 15; Deidra Combs 7-9 0-1 15; Shawntell Parsons 0-1 0-0 0; Megan Liedtke 0-0 0-0 0; Michelle Adkins 0-0 0-0 0. Team 22-42 6-10 57. 3pt goals 5 (Borich 3, Combs 1, Mo. Lietke 1).
Waterford: Shooting 19-50 (38 percent); 3pt shooting 5-19; Rebounds 27 (Hilverding 8, Paxton 7); Assists 11 (B. Drayer 4, Hilverding 4); Steals 4; Turnovers 10; Total fouls 12
Fort Frye: Shooting 22-42 (52 percent); 3pt shooting 5-12; Rebounds 19 (Combs 4, Borich 4, Buchanan 4, Hupp 4); Assists 13 (Mo. Liedtke 4); Steals 5 (Mo. Liedtke 2); Turnovers 7; Blocks 1; Total fouls 9
JV score: Fort Frye 31, Waterford 26
Waterford: Lakin Tolson 5; Erin Roush 7; Gabby Tornes 2; Mariah Starkey 11; Paige McCutcheon 1
Fort Frye: Ashley Gerber 1; Natalie Hart 8; Lexi Skinner 2; Alexis Enochs 10; Rachel Sebring 1; Jackie Pawloski 4; Caleigh Fryman 3; Karisa Lang 2
"We learned. Thursday we weren't very good. We had a little talk and the girls responded very well," said Waterford girls' basketball coach Jerry Close.
Waterford's determination combined with a rare off-night defensively for the Lady Cadets resulted in a back-and-forth contest that never saw a lead larger than six points until the final 1:59 of the contest.
"If our defense is not going to be solid, we're going to be in trouble," Liedtke noted.
Fort Frye built an early lead, 9-4, on senior Micayla Hupp's basket with 5:20 in the first quarter, but the Lady Wildcats showcased how the game would be fought as Brooke Drayer hit a three and Taylor Hilverding scored in the paint to tie the game.
The Lady Cadets employed a sharp-shooting offense to counter their sluggish defense, as Fort Frye hit on 7-of-12 field goals in the first quarter to lead 19-13 after one. For the game, Fort Frye hit 22-of-42 shots, or 52 percent, to preserve the win.
Waterford, meanwhile, was just 19-of-50 from the field but used a strong post presence to control the boards and keep the game close.
"We'll win a lot of games if we play like that," Close said.
Leading by six after one period of play, the Lady Cadets saw Waterford tie the game at 23-23 on Dani Drayer's putback basket with 5:30 before the break.
Hupp's old-fashioned three-point play restored the lead for Fort Frye, but Waterford would rattle off the final five points of the half to tie the game at 28-28 on Chelsey Paxton's bucket with just 3 seconds on the clock. The Lady Wildcats continued their strong play, taking a 37-35 lead on Paxton's bucket off an assist from Brooke Drayer. Brooke Drayer's three with 2:20 in the third quarter put Waterford ahead with some momentum, but once again when key shots were needed the Lady Cadets hit them.
"We don't want to be comfortable having ourselves in those situations," Liedtke said.
A bucket by Deidra Combs off Megan Liedtke's assist brought Fort Frye within one, and Brooke Borich's three off Shawntell Parsons' assist with 1:08 put the Lady Cadets ahead for good, 42-40.
Leading by two going into the fourth, the Lady Cadets saw Waterford narrow the gap to a single point at 46-45 on Hannah Dailey's jumper in the lane with 5:57 to play.
Despite their early struggles defensivley, Fort Frye would hold the Lady 'Cats scoreless over the next 5:28.
And while the Lady Wildcats were going scoreless, Combs and fellow senior Taylor Buchanan, who each finished with 15 points, took over. Buchanan's putback basket with 3:40 on the clock made the margin three points, and Combs promptly hit back-to-back baskets for a seven point advantage with 1:59 left in regulation.
"Their senior leadership took over in the fourth quarter and that's what should happen with a senior laden team," Close praised.
The lead ballooned to its largest margin of 10 points when Buchanan hit a pair of charity tosses with 38.8 seconds to play. Waterford attempted to get back into the game, as Brooke Drayer hit two quick baskets to bring the Lady Wildcats within six, 55-49, but Buchanan iced the game with another pair of free throws with 14.2 on the clock.
"They (Waterford) played very well and made it a good game," Liedtke said.