A flatout effort: French’s 37 helps Warren down Fort Frye 78-59

VINCENT – It’s not often a basketball team that hits 13 of its first 18 shots in a game loses.

With Evan French on the court, though, anything is possible.

French’s electric shooting display guided the Warren Warriors (14-3) to a 78-59 victory over the Fort Frye Cadets (15-3) Wednesday night at Warrior Coliseum.

The senior guard amassed 37 points on 13-of-22 shooting, including 6-of-10 from the 3-point line, to lead the Warriors and continue to build a case for a second straight appearance on the Division II All-Ohio list.

Warren head coach Blane Maddox has had a front row seat to many great offensive performances from French, with this showing being no exception.

“Wow,” said Maddox. “Incredible player.

“Tonight, a lot of guys deferred to Evan French. They did all of the dirty work for him. I’m proud of the way they shared the basketball.”

French scored 18 points in the first quarter and had 25 at halftime to keep Warren one step ahead of Fort Frye’s offensive attack, which went 7-for-8 in the second quarter but still trailed 49-34 at the break.

“We knew they were a good team coming in,” French said. “We knew we’d have to play hard. Reece (Patton) did some dirty work down in the paint. Everyone was putting the effort in.”

Andrew Henthorn also played a crucial role in Warren’s early scoring binge. The junior guard came off the bench to tally 12 points, all in the first half, including a pair of buzzer beaters in the first two periods to help keep the momentum on the royal blue and white’s side going into the second half.

“(Henthorn) gave us a great offensive spark,” Maddox said. “He’s our spark, that’s why we bring him off the bench.”

French added “When he comes in and does that, that’s a huge lift for our team. To have guys off the bench come in and score in double figures, that really got us pumped up and gave us momentum late in the game.”

Fort Frye cut the deficit to as little as 13 points, 68-55, midway through the fourth quarter, but Warren closed the game out on a 10-4 run to secure the win and complete the season sweep of the Cadets.

After back-to-back jumpers by French tied the game at 4-4 early in the first quarter, French assisted Reece Patton on a layup to give Warren the lead.

Fort Frye answered with a 3-pointer from Carter Kiefer before Patton and Kiefer traded 2-point baskets to make the score 9-8 in the Cadets’ favor.

Then, French came alive.

The future West Liberty Hilltopper drained consecutive treys to put Warren up five. Fort Frye responded with six straight points to take the lead back, but French grabbed a steal and went coast-to-coast for a one-handed dunk to give the Warriors the lead for good. French would hit two more 3-balls before the end of the quarter to make the score 26-17.

With time winding down in the opening period, Chandler Lang dribbled up the court for Fort Frye but lost control of the ball. Lang tried to shield defender Henthorn from the ball without touching it to avoid the over-and-back call, but Henthorn was able to pull the ball away and make a shot from a seated position at the buzzer.

“I was like ‘just let it go,’ then it happened and I thought ‘well that was a great play,'” Maddox laughed. “(Henthorn) found a way to get to it and shot it on his rear-end and made it. Both players were smart on that play. We were fortunate.”

Henthorn was apparently fired up as he drilled two triples in the second quarter before dishing an alley-oop to Michael Hall for a two-handed slam and then knocking down a very deep 3 at the buzzer to make it a 15-point game at halftime.

In the third quarter, French added 12 more markers to give him 37 for the game and give Warren a 65-48 lead with eight minutes to play.

Already with three fouls, French picked up his fourth early in the final period. Later, French re-entered the game and immediately picked up his fifth on a charge call to foul out, but not before lighting up the scoreboard.

“It all started with team,” French said. “They were setting good screens and I was coming off and hitting. It all started with them and I was just finishing what they started.”

Hall added 14 and Patton had 10 for the Warriors, who finished 28-for-46 (61 percent) from the floor.

Fort Frye was led by Seth Legraen’s 18 points. Kiefer added 13 and Lang contributed 11. The Cadets shot 52.5 percent (21-40) in the contest.