Prep girls basketball: Fort Frye defeats River 46-22

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – For the fourth straight time Fort Frye made an appearance in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship game Saturday and for the third time the Lady Cadets brought the trophy back home home to Beverly as they rolled to a 46-22 victory over the River Pilots at Ohio University-Eastern.

The Lady Cadets played outstanding defense from the outset as they limited River to just a lone field goal in the opening quarter of play to take a 13-2 lead.

Both teams struggled to get on the board early on as Morgan Liedtke’s three-pointer with just under five minutes to play in the first marked the first score of the game.

Taylor Buchanan added a pair of treys in the opening quarter and the Lady Cadets defense allowed just four River field goal attempts to stake claim to the 11-point lead.

River (16-6) put together its best stretch of play in the second quarter as it got a three-pointer by Lakyn Ramsay and field goals by Cassidy McCullough and Haylee Bowers to trim the Cadet advantage to 18-11.

Later in the period a steal and conversion by McCullough and a driving basket by Ramsay cut the Cadet lead to six before Morgan Liedtke ended the half with another triple to send the Cadets to intermission with a 24-15 lead.

As good as the Cadet defense was in the first half, it was even better in the second as the red, white and blue allowed River just seven total points in the final 16 minutes.

Deidra Combs scored eight of her game-high 14 points in the third quarter including the final six to lead the Lady Cadets to a 36-18 lead heading to the final period.

River baskets by McCullough and Leslie Young closed the lead to 16, but Buchanan tossed in six final quarter points and the Cadets cruised to victory number 19 on the season against just three losses.

Combs and Buchanan led the way for the Lady Cadets with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Brooke Borich added seven points and four assists and Liedtke contributed six points and four dishes.

River was led in scoring by Cassidy McCullough with eight points.

“We played with more intensity than we did the last time we played them (River)” said Buchanan. “We came out ready to go today.”

Led by senior Micayla Hupp’s seven rebounds, the Lady Cadets out rebounded River by a healthy 34-12 margin and limited the Lady Pilots to under five points in three of the four quarters.

“When we first came up here we were kind of the underdogs and now we are expected to do well,” said Hupp. “We still have to play hard.”

Fort Frye head coach Dan Liedtke was quite pleased with the performance of his girls who were out for revenge after dropping an overtime decision to River in Hannibal earlier this campaign.

“The battle to get here is tough enough and then to get here and win three out of four years is quite an accomplishment,” said Liedtke, who also has led the Fort Frye boys teams to a pair of OVAC tournament championships. “I’m really happy with these girls and all they have accomplished so far.”

“We learned when we lost to River early on that we have to stay up for every single game,” said Morgan Liedtke.

Coach Liedtke and his girls will take a day off to celebrate their OVAC championship before turning their attention to the sectional tournament which begins for the Lady Cadets at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night in Cambridge as they take on Bellaire.

River, now 16-6 on the season, will start their tournament play on February 18 as they battle the Frontier Lady Cougars at Union Local High School.