Warren edges Fort Frye, 54-53, in thriller

JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times Warren’s Seth Dennis (30) goes up to attempt a jump-shot as Fort Frye’s Brady Schilling contests during a high school boys basketball game Friday in Vincent. Warren won, 54-53.

VINCENT — Brandon Simoniette’s basket with 26 seconds left helped Warren High claim a 54-53 win over visiting Fort Frye Friday night.

The Cadets (4-4) took a 53-52 lead on Zane Greenleaf’s bucket in the final minutes before Simoniette drove the lane and put in the go-ahead basket. Nic Hart’s 3-point attempt rimmed out and Brady Schilling’s tip at the buzzer was off the mark as the Warriors (7-3) held on.

“We knew it would be a battle,” said Warren head coach Blane Maddox. “We let them get some confidence there at the end of the second quarter and they kept that momentum going into the third and really put us into a deep hole. I was glad to Simoniette come through and hit that big game-winner.”

The game was tightly-contested in the first quarter as neither team led by more than three points. Seth Dennis’ 3 put Warren up 18-16 by the end of the period.

In the second quarter, Warren got some separation. After Greenleaf, who scored a game-high 18 points, hit a 3-pointer to put Fort Frye up 21-19, the Warriors went on a 14-2 run, led by six points from Clay Miller.

JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times Warren’s Noah Nichols, left, makes a move with the ball as Fort Frye’s Caden Fryman defends during a high school boys basketball game Friday night in Vincent.

His team now down 10 with 1:42 left in the first half, Greenleaf scored seven points to get the Cadets within five, 35-30, at halftime.

Hart hit back-to-back shots to start the third quarter to make it 35-34, and once again the game was back and forth. Neither team led by more than three the rest of the way.

“It’s a typical Fort Frye-Warren game,” Maddox said. “We were very fortunate to come out on top.”

Noah Nichols, who knocked down three crucial 3-pointers in the game, led Warren with 12 points. Miller added 10 points and seven rebounds while Dennis netted nine points.

Along with Greenleaf’s 18, Hart tallied 11 points and eight boards while Luke Nelson chipped in nine points off the bench.

“Our guys did a great job of fighting back,” said Fort Frye head coach Eric Henniger.

“We lost Nic and Kelton (Fogle) real early in the game with foul trouble. That kind of hurt us because we haven’t had to experience that yet. They’re our primary ball-handlers. That was a part of it. We had to battle through a stretch where we kind of lost our composure.”

Maddox went 10-deep in the game with almost everyone offering significant contributions. Gabe Venham came off the bench for Warren and scored six straight points in the first quarter as the two teams went blow-for-blow.

“Gabe Venham, I’ve got to give it up for him,” said Maddox, whose team plays host Athens next Friday. “That was a big six points for him in the first half. You like to go to everybody but it’s so difficult when you’ve got so many guys that practice hard.”

Fort Frye, which is back in action Saturday at John Marshall, gave Warren everything it could handle.

“Our guys are pretty tough-nosed kids,” Henniger said. “They can play. Warren’s a tough team. To come into their gym and play right with them is a big plus for us.”

Fort Frye went 19 for 50 (38 percent) from the floor while Warren was 18 for 44 (41 percent).

“Heated battle tonight,” Maddox said. “I respect their staff and their team.”