BEVERLY — Second-seeded Fort Frye got the job done Thursday night in its Division III district semifinal as the Cadets rolled past seventh-seeded West Muskingum, 55-25.
The victory for the now 21-1 Cadets of head coach Dan Liedtke sets up a 1 p.m. Saturday district championship showdown when third-seeded Union Local, which lost to FFHS 56-44 back in December, invades.
The Tornadoes trailed 14-1 after the first quarter, but managed to stay within striking distance at 22-10 at the break. However, the Cadets turned up the pressure in the third and held a commanding 41-12 advantage entering the final eight minutes.
“That second quarter we just kind of went flat,” admitted Liedtke, who got a game-high 24 points form Hannah Archer but watched his squad score just once via a Riley Medley free throw after taking a 21-1 lead at 6:35 of the second.
“We weren’t getting any kind of rhythm at all and accepting the first shot that came along. We had to get more action going to the basket and a little more grit, but we responded the second half.”
After missing on their last eight shots of the second, Archer opened the third with a 3 via a Liv Schneider assist. Archer drained four of her six trifectas in the period. Schneider also hit from deep and scored all five of her points in the quarter. The other bucket in the 19-2 third quarter came via a Julia Zalmanek lay-in.
West Muskingum (13-5) managed its lone lead at 1-0 just 24 seconds in via an Ava Van Reeth free throw. Archer’s three-point play following a Karlee Ross steal was followed by a Lexie Huck triple as the Cadets started to roll. Medley ended the first with a long buzzer-beating 3.
Fort Frye, despite not scoring a bucket in the final 6:35, limited the Tornadoes to a pair of made 3s in the second — one each by Brooke Pauley and Mariska McCune — while Gracie Settles made 3 of 4 charity stripe tosses.
“I was not happy with our (first-half) play,” added Liedtke, who watched point guard Mackenzie Dalton finish with two points, but game-highs of six boards, five assists and five steals. “You know, you don’t get any second chances at this point.
“You got to show up and it’s got to be four quarters and we didn’t put four quarters in tonight. We got to be ready to go Saturday because I know that’s going to be very, very competitive.”
Madalyn Kennedy and Settles led WMHS, which shot 2 of 19 with 15 turnovers through three quarters, with seven markers apiece.
Fort Frye’s final two baskets of the game came via a Khloee Ross putback and a Kianna O’Brien triple.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org