Dudley, Kowalsky lead Caldwell past Frontier, 56-37
NEW MATAMORAS — Frontier’s strategy heading into Friday night’s showdown with visiting Caldwell was to not let the Lori boys beat them.
The Cougars were able to win the battle as they held the Redskin combo of Bede and Jett Lori to a grand total of 16 points but still lost the war as Caldwell rolled to a 56-37 win.
Sophomore Braxton Dudley tossed in 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the winners as Caldwell pulled away in the second half to improve their season mark to 6-5.
“He’s a great athlete who has been primarily a football player but I think he is having fun this year,” said Caldwell head coach Clint Crane of Dudley. “He can get to the rim a little bit and can shoot the ball a little bit and he really stepped up for us tonight.”
Bede Lori came into the game averaging well over 20 points per game and the Cougars defense led by senior Breckin Hoff shadowed his every move in the first half as they held him to just four points.
Dudley broke a 7-7 tie with a three-pointer late in the first quarter and added a put-back bucket just before the end of the quarter to give his team a 12-8 lead.
Frontier junior Tanner Bills, who scored a career-high 38 points Thursday night against Beallsville, opened the second quarter with his first bucket of the game but the Redskins answered with a 6-0 run sparked by four points from big man Matt Kowalksy.
Bills halted the Caldwell run with a pull-up jumper from the top of the key but Caldwell finished the half strong with field goals by Bede Lori and senior Lucas King to take a 22-14 lead into the intermission.
Frontier was down to just seven active players in the game and their head coach Roger Kirkpatrick felt that coupled with a game the previous night may have let his team come out flat.
“We are down a couple of players and playing three games in three nights is pretty tough,” said Kirkpatrick, whose team slipped to 1-4 with the loss. “I thought we did a great job defensively in the first half, we just weren’t able to sustain it in the second.”
Bede Lori came into the game with an streak of 62 straight made free throws which left him just six short of the all-time Ohio High School Athletic Association record but the sophomore missed his first attempt of the game to open the second half.
“Bede was a little disappointed but I told him he will have an opportunity as many free throws as he shoots to do it again,” said Crane of Lori, who has now made an incredible 69-of-71 free throw attempts on the season. “He has an opportunity to go after it again this year and two more years after that.”
Lori promptly started another streak as he canned four freebies the rest of the way including a pair midway through the third quarter that gave the Redskins a 13-point advantage.
Frontier got a three-pointer from junior Caleb Reynolds and a two-pointer from sophomore Lucas Cox to pull to within 10 but a pair of late inside baskets from Kowalsky gave Caldwell a 37-25 lead after three quarters of play.
Yet another strong inside move by Kowalsky increased the lead to 14 to open the final period but a base line jumper followed by a steal and basket in transition by Cox once again cut the lead to 10 with six minutes to play.
Cox finished the night with 18 points and five steals to lead the home team.
“Lucas (Cox) is a sophomore who didn’t play varsity last year but he has really stepped in and done a nice job for us,” said Kirkpatrick. “The more experience he gains the better he is going to be as the season goes along.”
That would be as close as the Cougars would get as Caldwell went on a 10-0 run capped by a three-pointer by Whyatt Parks to push the lead to 20 and for all intents and purposes put things out of reach.
Just like Dudley, Bede Lori fell one rebound short of a triple-double as he finished with 14 points and nine boards while Kowalsky totaled12 points and six boards. Cox was the only Cougar to reach double figures while Reynolds finished with eight points and a team-high five rebounds.
“We played hard and give them credit they are a good basketball team,” said Kirkpatrick. “I’m just glad we are back playing and we have got 15 games to go,”
Both teams are back in action today as Frontier plays host to Toronto and Caldwell hosts Philo.