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Cadets edge Fairland in early season test

ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Fort Frye at Fairland lived up to its billing.

The Cadets (3-0) edged the Dragons 54-53 Saturday night at the Carl York Center in a battle of two of the state’s Division III boys high school basketball powers.

The Dragons’ Jacob Polcyn’s 18-foot shot at the buzzer bounced off the front of the rim, sparking a celebration, then sighs of relief, from the Fort Frye bench.

Fairland trailed 52-51 after Aiden Porter made two free throws with 55 seconds left, and had the ball after Jordan Williams deflected a Kelton Fogle pass to teammate Gavin Hunt. Owen Brown, though came up with a steal and Fogle converted it into two points for a 54-51 lead with 25 seconds to play.

Fairland pulled within 54-53 after Nate Thacker made a pair of free throws with 9 seconds left. The Cadets then missed a free throw, giving the home team a chance to win, but Polcyn’s shot was just short.

The Dragons didn’t shoot well, making 19 of 46 shots, despite many open looks. Fairland went 6 for 22 from 3-point range, with usually sharp-shooting senior guard Clayton Thomas hitting 2 of 13 shots, all but three from 3-point range. The Dragons also made just 9 of 15 free throws attempts.

Fogle, meanwhile, went 9 for 16 to score a game-high 24 points. Nic Hart scored 11 as the Cadets went 22 of 45 from the floor, 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

Porter, averaging 29.6 points per game coming in, led Fairland with 19 points. Williams grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds.

Fort Frye jumped ahead early, leading 18-7 after one quarter. The Dragons scored the next 10 points, but still trailed 26-20 at halftime. Porter scored nine points in the third quarter to make it 41-41 heading to the final eight minutes.

Polcyn’s foul shot to begin the fourth quarter gave the Dragons a 42-41 lead and they still were ahead as late as the 2:53 mark after Hunt made a layup to make it 49-48. Brown’s basket off an offensive rebound gave Fort Frye a 50-49 lead with 2:11 remaining and the Cadets never trailed again.

The loss was the first at home for Fairland since a 79-62 setback to Trotwood-Madison on Dec. 12, 2015.

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