Fort Frye holds off PVC foe Shenandoah, 44-38

MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times Fort Frye’s MacKenzie White (13) takes a shot as Shenandoah’s Dany Dimmerling (15) defends during a high school girls basketball game Monday in Beverly.

BEVERLY — Shenandoah had all the intentions of taking early control of the Pioneer Valley Conference Monday night when it traveled to Fort Frye to take on a very young Lady Cadet squad.

Trouble is, Fort Frye was not ready to relinquish its stranglehold on the conference quite yet as the Cadets scored a hard fought 44-38 win over the previously unbeaten Lady Zeps to improve to 4-1 on the season.

Fort Frye broke open a tight ball game by out-pointing Shenandoah 12-5 in the third quarter and then managed to hold the Zeps in check the rest of the way to move to the top of the PVC where it has consistently been over the past decade.

The Lady Cadets got 25 points from their freshman class and overcame 11 first half turnovers to notch the win.

“For four quarters I thought our girls played really good basketball at both ends of the court,” said Cadets head coach Dan Liedtke. “We didn’t let their physicality get to us. As a matter of fact, we matched their physicality all four quarters and being a young team I felt that was a key.”

MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times Fort Frye’s Kiersten Kesselring, right, handles the ball as Shenandoah’s Jacie Clifton defend during Monday’s game.

Fort Frye rode the hot hand of freshman guard Olivia Schneider early as she scored four quick points as the Cadets pulled out to a 7-2 lead.

A little later in the quarter another Fort Frye freshman guard Lexi Huck canned a three-point shot to increase the lead to five before the Lady Zepplins answered with six straight points to claim their first lead of the game at 11-10.

Huck knocked down her second triple of the opening period to give the Fort a 13-11 lead after one quarter of play.

Shenandoah pulled even early in the second quarter on a pair of freebies by Taylor Franklin and then grabbed what would prove to be their biggest lead of the game when senior Faith Dimmerling connected from long range for a 16-13 lead.

A free throw by Fort Frye’s Karlee Ross and a deuce by Kiersten Kesselring tied the game once again at 16-16 before Shenandoah’s Jacie Clifton splashed in the first of her two three-pointer’s in the game with less than a minute to play to push the lead back to three.

The Cadets got a big boost just before the end of the half when senior Kelsey Adkins beat the buzzer with a three-ball of her own to send the PVC rivals to the locker room locked up in a 19-19 tie.

Fort Frye once again grabbed a three-point lead of their own early on in the third on a three-pointer by Schneider but a basket by Dimmerling and a free throw by Taylor Franklin once again tied things up at 24-24.

Lady Cadet Morgan Borich played most of the game despite being under the weather and the senior took things into her own hands in the third quarter when her young team needed her in the worst way.

Borich’s driving basket regained the lead for the Cadets and moments later she drained a triple and then finished the third quarter with a strong drive to the bucket for a score to give the Cadets a 31-24 lead.

“She (Borich) was very sick and we kept trying to give her breaks but she really wanted to be out there,” said Liedtke of Borich, who scored nine of her 11 points in a crucial three minute stretch of the second half. “She was struggling but she came in and gave us a spurt right when we needed it the most.”

Shenandoah managed to get the lead back down to four with less than four minutes to go in the game but Huck knocked down her third triple of the game and the Cadets took care of business at the charity stripe the rest of the way to score the big win.

Huck’s 13 points led all scorers while Schneider just missed joining Huck and Borich in double figures by scoring nine.

Shenandoah was led by Jacie Clifton with 12 points while Taylor Franklin finished with 10.

“We just played awful all the way around and that was the worst game I have seen us play in a long time,” said third-year Shenandoah head coach Sean Beskid. “We didn’t box out and we let them get too many second opportunities. We didn’t shoot well and just really didn’t do anything well tonight.”

The Lady Zeps, who slipped to 5-1 on the season, connected on just 27 percent from the floor (13-48) while being out rebounded by the Cadets by a healthy 25-16 margin.

Liedtke knew it would take awhile for his young squad to come together but is quite pleased with where they are at after just five games.

“I think we are taking big steps a little bit at a time,” said Liedtke, whose team will host Linsly on Wednesday night. “We had a really good summer and we started to gel. I feel like we are getting back to that point now.”

Shenandoah will be at home as well Wednesday when they host Caldwell.