Zane Wallace leads Cadets past hot-shooting ’Skins
BEVERLY — A very young Caldwell team gave Fort Frye all they wanted and then some in a battle on the hardwood Friday night between a pair of former Pioneer Valley Conference rivals.
Despite a near 80-percent Redskin shooting barrage that lasted all the way into the third quarter, the Cadets came through when it mattered the most and held on for a 63-57 victory.
The Redskins made 16 of their first 21 shots in the game to lead by as many as five points in the third quarter before the Cadets rallied for the win.
Cadet senior Zane Wallace tossed in a game-high 26 points including 14 in the second half as Fort Frye won for the eighth time in nine tries.
“They (Caldwell) are young and learning but they shot the ball well and ran their isolation very well,’ said Cadet head coach Eric Henniger. “We are going to have to do a better job on the defensive end.”
Caldwell jumped out to a 15-9 lead at the end of one quarter and increased their lead to nine early in the second before the Cadets put together a 7-0 run keyed by a triple and a steal and bucket in transition by Wallace.
The ‘Skins pushed their lead back to six on buckets by sophomores Matt Kowalsky and Lucas King before the home team claimed their first lead of the game on another three from Wallace followed by an inside basket and an then an old fashioned three-point play by Brady Schilling.
Caldwell got late buckets by King and Kowalsy and carried a 31-30 lead into the intermission.
The visitors made 13-of-18 field goal attempts in the opening half and continued their torrid pace when they opened the second half by making their first three shot attempts to open up a 37-32 lead.
“When we shoot the ball well we play well and I think that’s kind of a sign of a young team, said Caldwell head coach Clint Crane. “I told them before the game that this in one of the toughest places to play in Southeastern Ohio and I thought we played very well.”
Another Wallace long-ball pulled the Cadets even once again later in the quarater before Caldwell got a huge triple from King to close out the third quarter with a 47-44 lead.
Two minutes into the final quarter Wallace connected for the fourth time from long range and a minute later the five-foot-nine inch senior struck again to give the Cadets a 53-51 lead.
Freshman Bede Lori’s bucket tied the game once again before a free throw from Dylan Hart and a three-point play on a drive to the bucket with a left-handed finish by Wallace increased the Cadet lead to four.
The resilient Redskins came charging back once more as field goals by Jett Lori and Robbie Cool knotted the score at 57-57 with two minutes to play but the Cadets scored the final six points of the game including break-away lay-ups by Wallace and Caden Fryman to hang on for the win.
Wallace showed confidence in his ability to lead his team in the clutch.
“Me and Brady (Schilling) did a good job of keeping everything under control,” said Wallace. “I was able to make some big shots and we were able to get me the ball.”
Henniger had high praise as well for Wallace who connected of 5-of-9 shot attempts from behind the arc.
“It seemed like every time we needed a big shot Zane was able to knock one down,” said Henniger, whose team will travel to Frontier night to battle the red-hot Cougars. “The guys were finding him when he was open and he came through for us.”
Schilling joined Wallace in double figures with 18 points while leading his team in rebounds with six and assists with five.
Jett Lori led a balanced Caldwell attack with 18 points while Kowalsy and King added 13 points apiece.
Caldwell (5-6) will return to action next Friday at Beallsville.