Warriors complete season sweep of Cadets
BEVERLY — Warren High’s defense handcuffed Fort Frye’s offense in the second half.
The Warriors limited the host Cadets to two third-quarter points and 11 in the fourth en route to a 53-37 triumph Friday night in boys’ basketball action.
“When we play good D, we’re pretty athletic and long,” said Warren head coach Blane Maddox. “We’re proud of that. We gave up two points in the third, and that was two too many. We’ve got to work on that. But seriously, we take pride in our defense and rebounding. That’s how we have to win games.”
Noah Nichols scored a game-high 16 points, nine in the fourth quarter, to pace the Warriors, who improved their record to 6-3 overall. Josh Huffman added 11; Jared Hall 10, eight in the first half; and Troy Huck eight, including a two-handed dunk.
“Josh didn’t get all his like he usually does,” Maddox said. “But we hit some big threes in the second half.
“We wanted to get up 10 (in the third quarter) to take their (Cadets) confidence away. And we were fortunate to do that.”
Fort Frye, which fell to 4-3 overall, was led by Tyler Bradford’s 11 points, seven in the final period. Luke Nelson was once again instant offense off the bench with 10 markers, all in the first half.
“I was very proud with the way we played,” said Fort boss Eric Henniger, whose Cadets also lost at Warren, 56-36, on Dec. 12, 2017. “We executed and did everything we wanted to but it just didn’t happen our way.”
It did in the first half, though, as the Cadets battled the Warriors to a 24-24 tie. During the opening 16 minutes of play, there were five lead changes and four ties.
Sparked by Hall’s six points, Warren led 11-9 after one. In the second period, Nelson had six points and Bradford four as the Cadets kept pace with the Warriors.
“At halftime, we just said to the the guys that we’ve got to stick with the basics,” Maddox said. “We gave up 24 points in a half, so we were disappointed in our defense.
“But I thought we executed our offense very well. I thought we were well-prepared on the backdoors. We did what we had to do. It was a good ballgame.”
After Huck and Huffman opened up the second half with back-to-back threes, Warren never looked back. Grayson Schott had Fort’s lone points on a layup about midway through the period.
“I thought we did well in the second half getting to the hoop,” Henniger said. “We just couldn’t finish when there was contact. When you’re attacking the rim, you expect to get to the foul line and we couldn’t get there. We’ve got to do better.”
Closing out the third stanza, Clay Miller scored two layups to give the Warriors a 38-26 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth period, Warren maintained the advantage, thanks in part to Nichols and Huffman. Early on, Nichols had five straight points on a triple and two freebies to make it 45-31. And, late in the contest, he made two straight layups.
Meanwhile, at about the 4:07 mark, Huck stole the ball at midcourt, dribbled, and dunked to give the Warriors a 47-31 lead. Fort still battled as Bradford looked to shoot, and scored seven points. But it was pretty much too little, too late.
“We’ve got to figure out how to handle the pushing and shoving,” Henniger said. “We’ve got to do a better job of that and handling our composure.”