Zeps get best of Fort Frye in district semifinal

TOM PERRY The Marietta Times Fort Frye’s Kiersten Kesselring, left, battles Shenandoah’s Dany Dimmerling for a loose ball during Wednesday’s Division IV district semifinal game at Morgan High School in McConnelsville.

McCONNELSVILLE — Shenandoah finally found a way.

After losing two regular season games to Fort Frye, the Zeps rallied in the second half to defeat the Cadets 46-39 in the Girls Division IV District Semifinal at Morgan High School Wednesday.

“I’d much rather have this win,” said Shenandoah senior Taylor Franklin. “We finally knocked them off.”

Franklin played a big role in the win. When Shenandoah (19-6) needed a basket the Zeps looked for Franklin in the post as Fort Frye (17-8) defenders fronted her. Even when defensive help arrived, Franklin found a way to get off shots.

“We worked on getting the ball in the post all week,” said Franklin, who led all scorers with 17 points. She also had seven rebounds.

Shenandoah coach Sean Beskid said Franklin has been their go-to player all season.

“She stepped up big for us,” he said. “I’m just so proud of our girls for how they played. We haven’t played well against Fort Frye this season, but that has a lot to do with Coach (Dan) Liedtke. He’s a great coach and you can tell how good he is because that’s a young team and they played hard.”

Fort Frye did lead 18-17 at halftime, but turnovers proved to be too much in the second half. The Cadets finished with 17 turnovers, but Fort Frye started the second half with four straight unforced turnovers.

“We didn’t get a shot off in our first four possessions,” Liedtke said. “We’ve done this all season, but most of the time we’ve been able to overcome it. We couldn’t tonight.”

Fort Frye senior Kelsey Adkins played like someone who didn’t want her career to end. She led the Cadets with 15 points and six rebounds, but she also two big steals in the final quarter that led to four points – each time cutting Shenandoah’s lead to five.

“Kelsey did everything she possibly could,” Liedtke said. “She’s the kind of player that every coach loves to have. She always had to cover the other team’s best player, and many times she shut them down. We were so lucky to have her.”

Following back-to-back Fort Frye baskets and Shenandoah leading 35-30, Beskid said that’s when the Zeps had historically let the game get away. Not this time.

“Our experience came through there,” he said. “Some of the close games we’ve played this year prepared us for this game.”

The Zeps rallied from that point and scored seven straight points to build a 42-30 lead. Shenandoah made only 2 of 8 from the foul line down the stretch, but still held on for the seven-point win.

“There’s not many teams from our school who have reached the district finals,” Franklin said. “We have and we’re excited to keep playing.”

Another top Shenandoah shooter Jacie Clifton struggled from the field, making just 3 of 17 field goals. But she made 8 of 10 from the foul line to finish with 14.

“I told her to keep shooting,” Beskid said.

Shenandoah’s season continues against Malvern at 2 p.m. Saturday at a site to be determined. The Hornets defeated Bridgeport 39-34 Wednesday night.