Prep basketball: Frontier boys roll against Bulldogs

NEW MATAMORAS – The Frontier Cougars have looked very good at times in the early part of the season but head coach Roger Kirkpatrick had been waiting for his team to put together a strong full four quarters of basketball in a single game.

The veteran head coach got what he was looking for and then some Thursday night as the Cougars routed the previously undefeated Bridgeport Bulldogs 75-47 at Hank Morus Gymnasium.

Frontier scored 14 of the first 15 points in the game and never looked back as it led by as many as 22 points in the opening half.

“I thought our offense was much more in sync tonight than we have been this season,” said Kirkpatrick of his team’s offensive outburst. “We’ve been getting stagnated at times but tonight I thought we attacked the basket very well.”

The Cougars were deadly from long range as they connected on 11-of-23 shot attempts from behind the arc, including three in the opening quarter by sophomore Nick Camino to jump out to a 22-9 lead.

Koty Seevers opened the second period with a triple to cut the Cougars lead back to 10 but Frontier answered with a three-ball of its own from Damon Metheney and an old fashioned three-point play by Rodney Barnes to increase the lead to 28-12.

Barnes scored four more points in a row and Drew Schneider followed with an inside score to extend the lead to 34-12 midway thru the second quarter.

Kirkpatrick felt that jumping out to the big lead really took the wind out of the sails of the Bulldogs.

“I thought it was big to come out and get on them quick like we did,” said Kirkpatrick of his team’s big opening half. “They fought hard to try and narrow it down but we kept the pressure on.”

Bridgeport put together a mini run late in the half as it outscored the Cougars 12-5 down the stretch to close the lead to 15 at 39-24 at halftime.

The Cougars scored the first six points of the second half on a pair of scores by Barnes and a short jumper by Jeremiah Helmick but Bridgeport once again closed the lead to 15 on a pair of inside scores by big man Parker Dyson.

The Cougars seemed to have an answer for every potential Bulldog run and it was no exception in the third quarter as another score by Helmick and a three-ball by Damon Metheney once again increased the lead to 20.

Guard Q.J. Williams led Bridgeport in scoring in the game with 20 including four in a row as the Dogs cut the lead once again to 14 but the Cougars finished strong in the final period with a 22-11 finish to secure their second victory of the season.

Helmick and Barnes scored 20 points apiece to lead the way for Frontier, while Camino and Schneider both finished in double figures with 13 and 11 points respectively.

Schneider led the Cougars with eight assists while also equaling Camino’s team high total of five rebounds.

Kirkpatrick is quite impressed by Schneider’s development into a leader on the court for the Cougars this season.

“He really attacked the defense and made some nice passes,” said Kirkpatrick of his senior guard. “He’s very capable of scoring but is a very unselfish player and a real leader for our team.”

The Cougars played a zone defense for the first time this season in an effort to slow down Dyson, typically a force inside, and that strategy seemed to work to perfection as the Cougar defense limited Dyson to just eight points and six rebounds in the game.

“I thought we were able to take away their big guy (Dyson) and offensively we showed a lot of patience,” said Kirkpatrick. “I’m proud of the way we played against a very good Bridgeport team.”

Bridgeport slips to 4-1 with the loss while the 2-5 Cougars will return to action at home Monday night when it hosts the Beallsville Blue Devils.