Cadets down Zeps: 4 Fort players score in double digits in 67-48 win

BEVERLY – The Fort Frye Cadets jumped out to a big 21-point halftime lead and then survived a second-half comeback attempt to claim their sixth consecutive victory, a 67-48 win over the visiting Shenandoah Zeps in a Pioneer Valley Conference battle Tuesday night.

The Cadets used a 24-5 second quarter to jump out to the big lead, only to see Shenandoah outscore them 18-9 in the third quarter to turn what appeared to be a blow out into a dogfight.

“When you play as well as we did in the first few quarters, sometimes it’s really hard to get the kids to come out and really get after it in the third quarter,” said first- year Cadet head coach Eric Henniger. “We had a letdown in the third quarter but were able to overcome it.”

The Cadets, who were looking to avenge a 73-64 overtime loss to the Zeps in Sarahsville back in December, claimed a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Sophomore Seth Lagraen got the second period started with a bang for the red, white and blue with a steal and a basket at the other end, and Caden Brooker followed with an inside score with an assist from Chandler Lang to make it 16-10.

Levi Reed answered with a triple for the Zeps, but the Cadets finished the half on a 20-3 run, with all five starters scoring at least a field goal in the run.

“We have really been stepping it up on defense,”said Henniger of his Cadets, who forced five Zep turnovers in the second quarter. “When your defense is playing really well and your crashing the boards really well, that seems to translate over to the offense.”

Both Lagraen and senior Shon Smith finished the first half for the Cadets with 10 points as the Fort hit on 16-of-29 field goal attempts and outrebounded Shenandoah 14-10 in the first 16 minutes.

The Zeps came out firing right from the start in the third quarter as they put together a 14-2 run and closed the lead to just nine points with a little over two minutes to play in the third.

James Luyster got things going for Shenandoah with a trey and a pair of free throws before Brett Bond connected on a three- ball to cut the lead to 36-23.

Lang scored the first Cadet basket of the second half, but the Zeps answered with a field goal by Eli Hurst and and a rare four-point play by Bond to close the lead to 38-29.

On the very next Fort Frye possession, Smith completed an old fashioned three-point play and the Cadets pulled out to a 45-33 lead heading to the final quarter.

Shenandoah cut the lead to eight at 54-46 with under four minutes to play in the game, but the Cadets rallied to finish on a 13-2 run to seal their fifth consecutive conference victory.

“We just dug too big of a hole to overcome,” said second- year Shenandoah head coach Craig Sebring. “They (Fort Frye) kind of woke up and made the buckets when they needed to.”

The Cadets finished with four players in double figures led by Lagraen’s 17 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds.

Lang finished the game with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals for the Fort.

“We kind of relaxed a little bit and we just had to pick it back up and get back to our game,” said Lang. “We knew they were a good team, we just had to play our game.”

Smith chipped in with 15 points for the Cadets, while Jordan Anderson finished with 10.

Shenandoah was led by Danny Neuhart with 14 points, with Bond contributing 10.

Luyster finished one point shy of a double-double as the senior big man totaled nine points and a game- high 11 boards.

Fort Fyre, which improved to 8-5 overall and 5-3 in PVC action, will be right back in action tonight as they host the conference leading Monroe Central Seminoles in a conference showdown, while the Zeps (7-8, 4-5) travel to New Matamoras Friday night to take on the Frontier Cougars.