Cadets march on: Fort Frye shuts down Buckeye Trail, 50-32

BEVERLY – Fort Frye’s defense came to play Tuesday night against Buckeye Trail.

The Cadets forced Trail into 23 turnovers and held the Warriors to just 11 second half points in a 50-32 Pioneer Valley Conference boys’ basketball victory.

“When we’re playing defense like that, that helps out a lot,” said second-year Fort Frye head coach Eric Henniger.

The win avenged a 57-56 loss at Buckeye Trail earlier in the season for Fort Frye, which was clearly motivated by the presence of the home crowd Tuesday.

“We knew that since they beat us by one, we had to come back out and get ’em,” said Seth Legraen. “We weren’t gonna them beat us on our home floor. We don’t lose here.”

The Cadets’ defensive pressure forced Trail into 14 first half turnovers and as a result just 16 shot attempts. The offense capitalized by sinking 12-of-30 (40 percent) shot attempts in the first two quarters, including five 3-pointers which helped build a 10-point halftime lead.

“We’re not a 3-point shooting team by any means but anytime you can get that 3, it’s a boost, especially at home,” Henniger said. “When these guys start seeing that ball going in they get a little more confidence. They get a little bit tougher on defense. Those 3s in the first half really did open it up and let us dictate what we wanted to do on the defensive end.”

Fort Frye (8-2) came out and made a statement in the third period, holding Trail (6-6) to 0-for-9 from the floor and surrendering just a pair of Josh Toland free throws at the 1:21 mark to extend the lead to 19, 42-23.

“They took it upon themselves to shut (Buckeye Trail) down in the third quarter and that’s what they did,” Henniger said.

Legraen paced the Cadets with 16 points and eight rebounds. Justin Anderson scored 12, Carter Kiefer added eight and Chandler Lang and Jordan Anderson each had seven.

“Any time you can get balanced scoring like that, it means that everybody came to play,” Henniger said. “That’s what we need. If you’re gonna beat good teams like Trail, you’ve got to have a lot of guys scoring.”

Tyler Starr poured in exactly half of Buckeye Trail’s points, scoring 16 with four treys. No other Warriors player had more than seven.

After Jordan Anderson opened the game with three straight points, Legraen connected from beyond the arch to quickly give Fort Frye a 6-0 lead.

Later, Kiefer put back his own miss but was answered by Caleb Gray’s layup on the other end to make it an 8-4 game.

An 11-0 run by the Cadets midway through the first put the game on the verge of getting ugly.

A Justin Anderson jumper was followed by a Legraen 3 before Anderson nailed two triples of his own to make the score 19-4.

Tyler Starr stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer and then Lane Starr chucked up about a 60-footer at the buzzer and drained it to cut the deficit to 19-10 after one.

It was a 23-12 game midway through the second quarter when Legraen, Lang and Kiefer each hit a bucket to stretch the lead to 17 points, but a 9-2 run to end the half kept Trail within striking distance at 31-21.

The third quarter was a defensive clinic by both teams, as the first points of the half were not scored until the 3:34 mark when Legraen converted a layup, and one, play.

Later, baskets by Legraen and Kiefer made it a 38-21 game before Toland’s two freebies cut it to 15 for Trail’s only points of the period.

A putback basket by Legraen and a drive and bucket by Kiefer at the end of the third quarter put Trail in a 19-point hole, which was too much to overcome in the final eight minutes.

“Our gameplan was to get the boards and get (Buckeye Trail) moving. That’s what we did.” Legraen said. “We put the press on ’em, got ’em to speed up and got a lot of turnovers going. We got our offense driving to the bucket in the second half and it worked out for us great.”

The Cadets are scheduled to host Roger Kirkpatrick-led Frontier Friday at 7:30 p.m.