Cadets beat Cats: Legraen’s 25 helps Fort Frye top Waterford, 56-44

BEVERLY – Fort Frye spotted Waterford a big first-half lead before going on a 22-4 run midway through the game that turned an 11-point deficit into a seven-point lead.

The Cadets then pulled away to a 56-44 triumph over the visiting Wildcats Saturday night.

On a night where the Cadet faithful paid tribute to their four seniors it would be junior Seth Legraen who provided the spark as he scored 12 of his game high 25 points in the run that changed the whole complexion of the game.

“Seth (Legraen) is a streaky player and he just got into one of those zones tonight,” said second year Cadet head coach Eric Henniger. “He just really put our team on his back in the middle of the game and turned things around.”

Early on the Wildcats looked poised to steal a win away from their cross town rivals. Keyed by a pair of three balls from Wyatt Porter, they jumped out to a 15-12 lead after one quarter of play.

Waterford senior point guard Eli Strahler opened the second period with a basket to stretch the lead to five and after teammate Mitch Ginther’s basket, Strahler delivered back-to-back transition buckets to make it a 23-12 game and bring the green and white fans in the crowd to their feet.

Legraen slowed the Waterford momentum with a pair of field goals and then came up with a steal that resulted in an easy basket by Devin Brooker that closed the lead to five with 1:10 to play in the half.

Ginther’s second field goal of the quarter on an assist from Cody Paxton extended the Wildcat lead back to seven but Legraen converted a pair of freebies to close the lead to 25-20 at intermission.

Freshman Justin Anderson opened the second half for the Fort with a triple and senior Chandler Lang followed with an old-fashioned three-point play that gave the Cadets their very first lead of the game at 26-25.

The Cadets added to their lead on a pair of free throws by senior Jordan Anderson and when Legraen connected from long range the lead had swelled to six at 31-25.

Strahler’s driving bucket temporarily stifled the Cadet momentum but Lagraen got it right back when he answered from behind the arc to increase the lead to seven with 3:27 to play.

Strahler’s trifecta got the lead back to four but Fort Frye finished the quarter on a 9-2 run to take a double-diigit lead into the final eight minutes.

Paxton cut the lead to nine with a strong drive to the basket but Legraen canned his third triple of the game and tacked on an inside score to increase the lead to 14 with six minutes to play.

The lead increased to 17 late in the game on a Lagraen score off a rebound as the Cadets finished off the season sweep of the “Battle of the Muskingum .”

Legraen also led the Cadets in rebounds with eight and steals with four while Lang added 10 points.

Strahler was the only Wildcat in double figures with 14.

Waterford head coach Tom Simms felt his team put itself in position to win but just couldn’t find a way to finish.

“We needed to make some breaks happen for ourselves,” said Simms. “In the first half we did and in the second half we didn’t get things to fall. They got hot and we went cold and that was it.”

Henniger was glad to see his seniors claim the victory on a night in which they wore the same uniforms that Henniger wore as a Cadet back in the 1999-2000 season.

“Every one of our seniors whether they play five minutes a game or the whole game are leaders,” said Henniger of Lang, Anderson, Colten Shuster, and Tyson Niceswanger. “They are team players and we are going to miss every single one of them.”

The rival game is one that Lang will miss. “We knew they (Waterford) were going to come in with a lot of energy and they came to play,” said Lang of the Wildcats. “We knew we had to come out and play like a team in the second half.”

Waterford is scheduled to host Eastern Monday evening in a Tri-Valley Conference game, while the Cadets play host to Linsly Tuesday night in an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference semifinal.