Prep boys basketball: Cadets drill Zeps

BEVERLY – Some nights you have it on the hardwood and some nights you don’t.

To say the Fort Frye Cadets had it Friday night would be a major understatement as the Cadets completely dominated the Shenandoah Zeps 75-17 in a Pioneer Valley Conference contest to remain undefeated on the young season.

Fort Frye set the tone from the start as their relentless defense forced 12 first quarter Zep turnovers while yielding zero points in the opening quarter.

“Our kids played defense first the entire game and that is what we have been stressing,” said second -year Cadet head coach Eric Henniger. “I was worried going into the game about what kind of intensity our kids would play with but they came out strong from the start.”

Fort Frye guard Chandler Lang is well known for his defensive prowess and the senior came up with 10 steals in the game including a pair of early picks that netted easy baskets for Jordan Anderson and Carter Kiefer to give the Fort a quick 5-0 lead.

After a Seth Lagraen bucket increased the lead to seven, freshman Justin Anderson provided a lift off of the bench by scoring on an offensive rebound and then draining a triple from behind the arc for a 14-point Cadet lead.

Tyson Niceswanger rounded out the first quarter scoring for the red white and blue with a field goal for a 16-0 Cadet lead.

Shenandoah finally got on the board early in the second quarter when Merritt Flood connected from long range but the Cadet’s had another answer from their bench in junior Devin Brooker.

Brooker connected on back-to-back treys and a field goal in a matter of a minute and a half to send the Cadets to a big 27-6 lead with four minutes to play in the half.

Henniger likes the ability of both Brooker and Justin Anderson to come off the bench and provide his team with instant offense.

“We’ve got two kids in Justin (Anderson) and Devin (Brooker) who can come in and knock down three’s” said Henniger of his bench. “They really stretch the other teams defense out and that definitely helps our inside game.”

Lang finished a strong first half by scoring 13 points in a half ending 18-3 Cadet run to send them to halftime with an huge 42-9 advantage.

The Zeps continued to struggle against the Cadet defense in the third quarter as they turned the ball over 10 more times as the Fort outscored them by a 20-4 margin to increase the lead to 62-13 heading to the final quarter.

Shenandoah managed to get off just 22 field goal attempts in the game, connecting on just 18 percent (4-22) of those shots.

While turnovers (39) haunted the Zeps from the get go, the Cadets were nearly flawless as they failed to turn the ball over until the final period when they turned it over three times.

“It’s easy for a team to let up when they get a big lead but our kids continued to work on their fundamentals and that’s something to be commended for,” said Henniger. “They were executing the offense the right way and making a good effort at doing everything right.”

All nine players on the Cadet roster scored at least a field goal paced by Lang’s 17 points. Brooker finished with 14 points, including four three-pointers, while Justin Anderson and Kiefer finished in double figures with 10 points apiece.

Legraen and Kiefer each pulled down five rebounds to pace the Cadets who won the battle of the boards by a 29-23 count.

The Zeps were led by Jacob Ralston, Jackson Cline and Flood with three points apiece while Stanley Gutowski pulled down a team high five rebounds.

Shenandoah slips to 2-2 on the season, while the Cadets improved to 3-0 with a marque match up on the agenda tonight when they welcome the Warren Warriors to their new floor in a non- conference battle.

“We know they (Warren) are a great team and a well coached team that is coming in here off of a loss,” said Henniger of the Warriors, who suffered their first loss of the season to Portsmouth (66-60) earlier in the week. “They are going to come in here hungry for a win. We haven’t had a win against them in awhile and our kids are going to have to play their best to do that.”