Fort Frye too much for Belpre to handle in a loss

MIKE MORRISON, The Marietta Times Fort Frye's Luke Nelson drives while Belpre's Logan Adams defends in basketball action Friday night at Fort Frye High School. The Cadets came out on top 69-53.

BEVERLY — The only drawback to an ultra-successful football program like the Fort Frye Cadets have is the early toll it can take on its basketball program.

After a bit of a slow start that saw them open 0-3, the Cadets have rallied to win four games in a row including Friday night’s 69-53 win over the visiting Belpre Golden Eagles.

Five Cadet players scored in double figures as the Fort pulled out to a 12-point lead at the half before pulling away in the third quarter to secure the win.

“Those first three games we keep saying were our scrimmages,” joked Fort Frye head coach Eric Henniger. “After Christmas was the first time we’ve all been together for a full month. It’s been a great four wins and the guys are all contributing and looking a lot better.”

The Cadets used the hot hand of Brady Schilling to jump out to an early 10-2 lead as the junior accounted for eight points in the first three minutes of the game.

Belpre cut the lead to six on field goals by big men Collin Alloway and Jeremiah Stitt, but a pair of deuces by Nic Hart in the closing minute of the quarter gave the Cadets a 19-11 lead.

Alloway opened the second quarter with another score before a pair of free throws by Kelton Fogle and back-to-back two-pointers by Zane Greenleaf gave the Cadets a 12-point lead with 5:43 to play in the half.

Later in the first half the Cadets pushed the lead to 15 on Hart’s triple but the Eagles managed to trim the lead back to 36-24 at the break.

Hart led all scorers with 22 points, including six in the opening minutes of the second half as the Fort continued to extend its lead.

Henniger feels his sophomore guard Hart is starting to come into his own.

“He is a very active player and he is constantly on the move out there,” said Henniger of Hart, who also finished the game with five rebounds. “When his outside shot is going in like it was tonight he is a really tough guard.”

A 3-pointer by Luke Nelson opened the Cadet lead to 18 before the Cadets blew things wide open on driving buckets by Hart and Nelson.

Belpre went on an 11-2 run to begin the final quarter of the game to crawl within a dozen, but that was as close as the Tyler Leasure-led Eagles got.

Joining Hart in double figures for the Cadets were Schilling with 12 while Greenleaf, Fogle and Nelson finished with 10 points apiece.

“When you have five kids scoring in double-digits it’s hard for the other team to lock down on any one guy,” said Henniger. “We didn’t have that for the first three games but once every but has gotten comfortable with each other we have been able to put a bunch of tough guards out there.”

Stitt completed a double-double for Belpre as the 6-foot-7 senior scored 15 points while pulling down a game-high 11 boards.

Logan Adams also scored 15, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line for the (3-7) Eagles while Connor Baker added seven points and a game-high six assists.

Leasure feels the early tough schedule his team has endured should only make them stronger as they get into Tri-Valley Conference play beginning next Friday when Southern comes to town.

“We are looking forward to getting back into our home gym and starting conference play again,” said Leasure. “We’ve had a pretty tough ten game stretch and I think we have learned a lot about ourselves and hopefully we can use that to our advantage in the future.”

Just like the Eagles, the (4-3) Cadets will get a week off before traveling next Friday to Warren.