Prep boys basketball: Cadets top Wildcats 53-46

WATERFORD – Seth Legraen and Chandler Lang combined for 35 points as the visiting Fort Frye Cadets pulled away late to down the Waterford Wildcats 53-46 Saturday evening in the first of two battles between the cross town rivals.

The Cadets broke open a tie ballgame with a 10-5 run to open the final quarter and then took care of business at the charity stripe the rest of the way to chalk up their sixth victory of the season in eight attempts.

“It was just two very good defensive teams going head to head and it turned into a real defensive struggle,” said Fort Frye head coach Eric Henniger. “We were fortunate to come out of here with a win.”

Both teams were in action for the second straight night and both came out a little flat offensively as evidenced by the 7-7 score at the end of the first quarter.

The Cats finally began to come to life in the early stages of the second quarter as Cody Paxton grabbed a rebound and put it back in for a score and Wyatt Porter followed with a triple and a deuce to send the white and green out to a 14-7 lead.

Legraen and Tyson Niceswanger connected on back-to-back inside buckets to close the lead to 14-11 but Garrett LeMasters answered for Waterford to send the lead back to five.

Fort Frye got an underneath score from Logan Madison and then turned to Lang to take the lead.

The senior guard got things started with a pair of free throws to cut the lead to a point and then after another LeMasters bucket Lang scored back-to-back field goals, the second of which coming on a steal to give the Fort a 19-18 lead.

Henniger was quite pleased with the effort of Lang on both ends of the court.

“Chandler really stepped it up tonight,” said Henniger of his floor leader. “He really brought it tonight and his defense and ball handling were keys in us getting this win.”

Carter Kiefer scored the last four Cadet points of the half and Fort Frye went to the locker room clinging to a 23-20 lead.

Madison opened the third quarter with a quick bucket to push the lead to five but the Wildcats clawed their way right back in front.

A field goal and a free throw by Porter trimmed the lead to two before Tanner Pottmeyer drilled a triple to give the Cats a 26-25 lead.

The three-ball was the first shot attempt of the game for Pottmeyer, one night after he shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the field against Trimble.

“He (Pottmeyer) got in a little foul trouble in the first half and had to sit,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “Tanner’s the type of shooter that has to get into a rhythm and a flow and it took awhile for him to get going.”

A three-pointer by Legraen put the Cadets back on top and after Fort Frye freshman Justin Anderson scored three points in a row, Legraen capped an 8-2 Cadet run to push the lead out to five with three minutes to play in the third.

Pottmeyer’s second three-ball of the quarter and a steal and basket by Mitch Ginther sparked a quarter ending 9-4 Waterford run to send the game to the final period tied at 37-37.

Lang’s second trifecta of the game seemed to set the stage for what was to come in the final eight minutes as the Cadets slowly began to put some daylight between themselves and the Wildcats.

Four points in a row by Lagraen made it a five point game with under three minutes to play but Pottmeyer’s basket on an assist from Strahler once again closed the lead to one possession at 47-44.

The Wildcats connected on 19 field goals in the game compared to just 15 for the Cadets but the Fort made good on 20-of-31 free throw attempts while Waterford struggled mightily as it missed eight-of-12 attempts from the foul line.

A pair of freebies by Lang made it a 49-44 game and Fort Frye finished things off at the line to secure the hard earned win.

Simms was pleased with the effort put forth by his squad despite the difficult loss. “I can’t ask any more out of our guys. They played them hard and they did what I asked and we just needed to make a couple of more shots,” said Simms, whose team slipped to 7-2 with the loss. “Everyone that was on that floor tonight gave us everything they had.”

Henniger was pleased to see his team respond from a tough, one-point, conference loss the night before to Buckeye Trail.

“Bouncing back the way we did tonight is huge for us,” said Henniger of his Cadets who are now 6-2 on the season. “Anytime we can get a win over here we will take it.’

The second-year Cadet head coach has a lot of respect for the Waterford team.

“They have a very good, athletic, strong team,” said Henniger of the Wildcats. “They are going to win a lot of games before this year is over.”

Legraen led all scorers with 18 points while Lang added 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists to the Cadets attack.

Waterford was paced by Porter with 10 while Pottmeyer and Paxton chipped in with nine and eight points respectively.

Both teams will hit the road weather permitting on Tuesday night as the Wildcats are scheduled to travel to Southern while the Cadets return to Pioneer Valley Conference action at Frontier.