Fort Frye wins district title: Buchanan bucket beats Tornadoes, 47-45

STEUBENVILLE – Taylor Buchanan hit one of the biggest shots in her stellar basketball career at Fort Frye.

The 5-foot-10 senior’s bucket from just inside the 3-point arc with less than three seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner as the top-seeded Lady Cadets rallied to defeat No. 4-seeded West Muskingum, 47-45, in an Ohio Division III district championship game at Steubenville High Saturday night.

“Brooke (Borich) was dribbling, and just kind of handed it off to me,” said Buchanan. “I just shot it, and didn’t really think about it. I’m just glad it went in, and we won.”

Advancing to the Sweet 16, Fort Frye is now scheduled to play Frankfort Adena in a regional semifinal at Logan at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Last week, Buchanan – who is Palm Beach (Fla.) Atlantic University-bound to play hoops after graduation – was named to the Eastern All-District first team.

Borich, a 5-6 junior guard, paced the Dan Liedtke-coached and No. 11-state ranked Lady Cadets (23-3) with 14 points.

“Brooke and a lot of other people really stepped up for us,” Buchanan said. “It was a team effort.”

The Joey Mobley-led Lady Tornadoes (14-11) had three cagers in double digits led by the senior post duo of Dakota McKenzie and Macy Meadows, who combined for 28 points and 17 rebounds.

Amisha Herd added 12 markers.

West Muskingum had Fort Frye on the ropes for most of the contest until the final period. WM got off to a sizzling start, making its first three shots and not allowing a FF basket from the floor until late in the opening stanza to take an 11-7 lead. The Lady Tornadoes kept the pedal down in the second, doubling its lead to 20-12 at halftime. A Meadows layup increased the lead to 34-17 in the third before Fort Frye had a 9-2 run to make it 36-26 after three.

The Lady Cadets kept battling in the fourth as a Borich 3-pointer from the top of the key and back-to-back baskets off turnovers from Buchanan and Deidra Combs gave them their first lead of the game 43-42 with under a minute to go.

Both teams traded baskets, and after West Muskingum’s Mariah Lynn split a pair of freebies, it was knotted at 45-all with 13 seconds to go.

Then, Buchanan hit a clutch shot from the left point to give Fort Frye a two-point lead. The Lady Tornadoes had one final chance to tie or win, but their inbounds pass was picked off by Combs.

“We definitely struggled early on,” Buchanan said. “The ball just seemed to be bouncing West Muskingum’s way. But then we finally got things going in the fourth quarter, and we were able to pull it out luckily.”

J.J. Mickey contributed to this report.