Cadets top Buckeye Trail, win 12th straight sectional

Fort Frye’s Khloee Ross makes a move with the ball during a high school girls basketball sectional final against Buckeye Trail Thursday in Beverly. Fort Frye won, 67-25. Photo by Josh Hughes

BEVERLY — Fort Frye dominated once again to win the sectional championship in a 67-25 handling of Buckeye Trail.

Winning the Division III sectional is nothing new, as Dan Liedtke’s group has now won 12 of those titles in a row. Something new for the juggernaut Cadets (20-1) was that they actually trailed for a moment. However, FFHS quickly rose to the occasion and dominated following the opening Warrior basket.

A 23-5 run to end the first quarter created more than enough distance for the remainder of the contest. Key shooting from beyond the arc created a deficit the visiting Warriors (6-14) couldn’t overcome. Ten triples found the bottom of the net, as Mackenzie Dalton and Hannah Archer each splashed in a trio of 3-balls. Lexie Huck, Liv Schneider, Karlee Ross and Julia Zalmanek each had one each. Archer and Dalton did what they do best by leading the way in scoring with 19 points apiece in the triumph. Guard play is always a hallmark of Liedtke’s offense, and the small-ball offensive attack is a key reason why the Cadets are always looking for more success around this time of year.

The closest BTHS got following an initial 13-0 run was when Brooke Baird hit a pair of consecutive shots that got the deficit down to six. That was all the Warriors managed, as Baird’s team-high 14 points hardly made a dent when all was said and done. A 12-point showing from Ross also helped the Cadet cause, as Baird’s scoring (which included four of her team’s five made 3-pointers on the night) was the only major contribution for the visitors. It was all a part of the plan for Liedtke. He’s looking for bigger and better things from his girls with a district semifinal contest coming up on Feb. 25 at home. As for who their opponent will be, the No. 7 seed West Muskingum flattened the No. 12 seed Barnesville in a 61-16 win. Liedtke can’t wait for his team’s dream to be realized but says it’s up to them to see how far they can go.

“In the first quarter, I don’t want to say we struggled, but we were feeling them out for a bit. Then, in the second, we boosted it up,” Liedtke said of his side’s approach to the start of this game. “We’ve got a lot of big hurdles to go ahead of in this with one game at a time. We know ultimately where everybody wants to get to, but it’s always about what you’ve got to go through to get there. Your game has got to be on. You can’t have any lapses, and you don’t get any second chances in this. We’ve got to be ready to go, every night we go out to play.”

That was certainly the case for the Cadets in this rout of Buckeye Trail, who exits this season on a down note. Baird outscored her four teammates who scored the rest of the team’s points, 14-11. Finding the scoring column outside of FFHS’s top 3 were Huck, Zalmanek and Schneider with five points apiece. Riley Medley came off the bench and provided a make to leave her impact, as well.

Liedtke continued on about what it’ll take for his team to reach the promised land, as West Muskingum comes calling.

“This is our 12th sectional title in a row that we got, tonight. We’ve won it (every year) since I took over the girls,” he said. “It’s a big honor to be able to do that and to consistently do that, but we look for bigger things than that. We’ve just got to gear up and be ready for next week.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com


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