Prep boys basketball: Cadets defeat Wildcats

By Mike Morrison

The Marietta Times

WATERFORD – When it comes time for Fort Frye head basketball coach Eric Henniger to hand out defensive assignments, you can bet Chandler Lang will get the task of guarding an opponent’s leading scorer.

Thats because the junior Cadet has proved time and time again he is one of the area’s best defensive players.

Saturday night Lang and his fellow Cadets held Waterford Wildcat leading scorer Austin Shriver to zero points as Fort Frye rolled to a 60-39 victory in a make up game at Harry W. Cooper Annex at Waterford Elementary School.

“Chandler just played a great defensive game again,” said Henniger of Lang, who totaled five steals and seven rebounds in the game. “That’s also a team thing as well as we work on help defense a lot and it was just a great team effort defensively tonight.”

The Cadets, who typically struggle offensively when they make the short trip to Waterford, came out smoking Saturday night as they scored the games first nine points.

Lang scored four of those points for the Fort, while sophomore Seth Legraen added three, including a bucket on a nifty assist from Shon Smith to give the Cadets the early 9-0 lead.

The Wildcats came clawing back as baskets by Austin Bauerbach, Wyatt Porter, Tanner Pottmeyer, and Cody Paxton closed the Cadet lead to 12-8 at the end of one quarter of play.

Lang was also productive on the offensive side of the ball as he drilled a triple to open the second quarter, but Porter and Paxton answered for the green and white to close the lead to 15-12.

While Lang is known for being one of the areas best defensive players, Smith is right at the top of the list of offensive performers and the Cadet senior put on a clinic in the second quarter.

After Caden Brooker and Eli Strahler traded scores, Smith erupted for 11 points in a matter of about two minutes to turn a four-point Cadet lead into a 30-17 lead with just over a minute to play.

Smith proved that he can score from anywhere on the hardwood as among his 11 points were a long three-ball and a beautiful drive to the basket with his left hand.

“Smith just had an outstanding game and he is an outstanding scorer,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “There is no doubt he is going to play on the next level.”

Strahler connected from long range late in the first half to trim the Cadet lead to 32-22 at the intermission.

Jordan Anderson sank a triple to open the second half for the Fort and after a free throw by Porter, Lang and Smith scored consecutive baskets to send the Cadet lead to 40-23 with six minutes to play in the third.

The Wildcats refused to go away as a modest 6-2 run capped by a three-pointer from Tanner Pottmeyer closed the lead back to a dozen early in the final period.

Once again the Cadets answered with a run of their own, this one a 10-4 run that increased the margin to 18 points and put things away for good.

Smith led all scorers in the game with 26 points, while also dishing out a game-high five assists, while Lang added 11 points for the Cadets.

Lang, who also limited River Pilot leading scorer Brett Price to just six points in Monday’s conference title-clinching win, has become more aggressive on the offensive end as well of late.

“Coach (Henniger) has been on me to be more aggressive with the ball,” said Lang, who sank a pair of treys in the game. “I’m just taking what they give me and getting my chances.”

Waterford was led in scoring by senior Brian Moore with nine and Strahler with eight.

Along with Moore, Shriver and Bauerbach also finished up their Wildcat home careers Saturday evening.

“We have great kids and they have given us everything we’ve asked of them,” said Simms of his senior trio. “We wish a few more shots would have fallen at certain times but they gave it all they had.”

Both teams will now turn their attention to season No. 2 as the 8-13 Wildcats open tournament play at Meigs High School Wednesday night against Symmes Valley, and the 15-7 Cadets travel to Meadowbrook High School Friday night to battle Martins Ferry for a sectional title.

“It’s always tough coming over here and playing Waterford,” said Henniger, whose Cadets hold the No. 1 seed in the upcoming tourney. “It’s great to get this win and now we can focus on Martins Ferry.”