Prep boys basketball: Fort Frye routs River 69-33

BEVERLY – Nine times in the first 4:39 of their game against the visiting River Pilots the Fort Frye Cadets tossed the basketball towards the hoop.

And nine times the ball found the bottom of the net.

Opening the game by shooting 7-of-7 from the field and 2-for-2 at the free throw line the Cadets rolled out to a double figure lead and never looked back as Fort Frye drilled the Pilots 69-33 in Beverly Tuesday night.

“Our game plan was to really get out and bust them early,” said Fort Frye junior Seth Legraen, who led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting. “We looked for the open man and got good shots all game long.”

Those open shots resulted in the Cadets assisting on 16 of their 28 buckets as Fort Frye connected on 55 percent of its attempts from the field in the game. Conversely, River was just 3-for-7 in the first quarter and 12-of-44 in the game as the Pilots struggled to keep pace with a Cadets team that’s put up 149 points in the first two games of the season.

“We like to come out and set the tempo,” said Fort Frye senior Chandler Lang, who had nine points to go with game highs of six rebounds, seven steals and four assists. “I thought the offense moved well. Different people got open and they hit the shots.”

Before the Pilots could catch their breath after the opening tip they found themselves trailing by eight as Fort Frye scored the game’s first four buckets, with Legraen hitting a jumper off Logan Madison’s assist for an 8-0 lead with 5:05 in the first.

River finally got on the board on a three-pointer by Jared Ramsier with 4:36 in the quarter, and the Pilots would actually hit their first two shots from the field to trail 11-5 before the wheels fell off.

After hitting their first two shots from the field the Pilots would connect on just 2-of-15 the rest of the first half as they trailed by 21 at the break.

“We got easy shots in the game just off our defensive transition. That really set the tone,” said Fort Frye boys’ basketball coach Eric Henniger.

Fort Frye pushed the lead to double figures for the first time with 3:21 in the first when Carter Kiefer sunk a pair of free throws and the margin remained 11 points or better after Legraen’s bucket off Lang’s assist with 1:39 in the stanza.

As well as the Cadet offense played in the first quarter, the margin kept growing in the second thanks to a defense that had River commit nearly as many turnovers in the game’s first 16 minutes as they had shots from the field.

“Defense starts it all,” Lang said. “Get steals, go down the floor, get transition points.”

River didn’t get to double figures on the scoreboard until there was 1:18 to play in the first half when Parker Caretti hit the front end of a 1-and-the bonus situation.

“They (Cadets) are defensive players, every single one of them. It doesn’t matter who I put in. They’re going to play defense,” Henniger said.

Defense kept the Pilots from managing more than nine points in three out of the four quarters, with the lone exception coming in the third when River found a spark on the offensive glass to collect nine second chance points in the first 4:27 of the second half.

The only points that River scored in the third quarter that didn’t result from an offensive rebound was Jarrett Armann’s three-pointer with 1:17 in the period that made the score 50-24 in favor of Fort Frye.

“It’s a bad thing that that (offensive rebounds) happened in the third quarter because we talked about it at halftime,” Henniger said.

Despite giving up all those second chance points in the third, the Cadets rallied themselves behind their defense and an offense that has had at least three players in double figures in both of Fort Frye’s games this season.

“It (balanced offense) makes it hard to defend us,” Legraen said. “Everyone can score. this is a well balanced team with good chemistry.”

Balanced scoring had the Cadets push the lead to its largest margin of 38 points when freshman Justin Anderson scored off Tyson Niceswanger’s assist with 1:16 in regulation.

Anderson, a freshman, tallied 14 points off the bench as the Cadets held a 21-10 advantage from the reserves. Overall, Fort Frye’s bench connected on 9-of-18 shots from the field opposed to the Pilots’ 3-of-17.

Leading by 28 to start the final period, the Cadets continued to build their advantage as River hit just three field goals in the final quarter while Fort Frye hit 7-of-11 from the field.

Holding onto their sizeable advantage, the Cadets continued to work the ball and focus on the small battles on the court as they prepare for a week in which they play three games in five days.

“This team is a very coachable team. They do everything I ask of them and you can see that,” Henniger praised.