Prep boys basketball: Fort Frye drills Waterford, 59-35

BEVERLY – For the second straight night the Fort Frye Cadets were lit up in the opening quarter of play by a red-hot shooting opponent, and for the second straight night the Cadets were up to the challenge as they rolled to a 59-35 victory over the Waterford Wildcats Saturday evening at Fort Frye High School.

Waterford senior Austin Shriver scored his team’s first 12 points to send the Cats out to a 14-11 lead after one quarter in the “Battle of “The Muskingum River.”

Just as it did the night before in its 13-point victory over Buckeye Trail, the Fort Frye defense kicked things into high gear in the second quarter, and the Cadets limited Waterford to just 21 points the rest of the way.

“We have to start playing some better defense in the first quarter,” said Fort Frye head coach Eric Henniger. “Shriver was hitting everything in the beginning, and we had to make some adjustments.”

Those adjustments included switching Chandler Lang and Seth Lagraen, with Lagraen getting the honor of guarding Shriver.

“Chandler (Lang) is probably our best defensive player,” said Henniger, in his first year as Cadet head coach. “But Seth (Lagraen) is tall, long and lanky and he can effect shots. We like to switch those guys around sometimes and it’s a good advantage to have.”

Against Buckeye Trail, guard Shon Smith took over in the second quarter for the Fort, but the senior standout was tagged with his second personal foul early in the second period, forcing the Cadets to look elsewhere for offense.

Back-to-back treys from Lang and Jordan Anderson gave the Cadets a 17-14 lead, but Eli Strahler answered with a three-ball of his own for Waterford to even things at 17-17.

Dominck Omspach put the Cadets back in front with the first of his two three-pointers in the game.

Omspach’s three-ball sparked a 16-7 Cadet run that sent them to intermission with a 33-24 lead.

Smith, who scored 25 points the night before against Trail, managed just a lone field goal in the opening half for the Cadets.

Lagraen and Anderson combined for 20 of Fort Frye’s 33 points in the first half.

“We have a lot of guys that can step up,” said the 6-foot-3 Lagraen. “We’re starting to play more together as a team and that will help us win a lot more games later on.”

Smith returned to open the third quarter with a driving basket, giving the Cadet’s their first double-digit lead of the game at 35-24.

Shriver grabbed his own rebound and put it back in to cut the lead to nine, but the Cadets followed with a 10-0 run to put things away for all intents and purposes.

Cody Paxton opened the final quarter for the green and white with a score, but consecutive Fort Frye baskets by Caden Brooker, Tyler Norris and Carter Kiefer made it a 20-point Cadet lead with just over four minutes to play.

The Cadets shot 18-for-19 from the free-throw line in the game, and finished things off at the charity stripe for their fourth win of the season.

Lagraen led the way for Fort Frye with 20 points and eight rebounds.

Henniger had hefty praise for his sophomore, not only on the offensive side of the ball but the contribution he is making to the Cadet defense.

“He (Lagraen) has improved so much on defense,” said Henniger. “It’s great to have someone else step up and improve their defense like Seth has.”

Anderson chipped in with 12 points, including a pair from behind the arc, while Lang added nine markers.

Omspach continued his solid play off of the bench for the Cadets with a pair of three-balls and a team high five assists.

Shriver finished the night with 21 points and six rebounds to lead the Waterford attack.

Waterford head coach Tom Simms had no problem with the effort put forth from his team as the Wildcats were also playing their second game in as many nights after dropping a 43-35 decision Friday night at home to Federal Hocking.

“We got in a pretty good rhythm early on, but we weren’t able to keep up the tempo,” said Simms.

“I don’t have any complaints about the effort or about the defense. We just need to do a better job finding the rim.”

After a slow start the Cadets find themselves just one game under the .500 mark at 4-5, while Waterford slipped to 4-3 with the pair of weekend losses.

Both teams resume conference play Tuesday evening as the Cadets stay home to host the Frontier Cougars, while Waterford will travel to Reedsville to take on the Eastern Eagles.