Fort Frye girls on to districts

Photo by Steve Hemmelgarn Fort Frye’s Lexie Huck drives by a leaping Bishop Rosecrans’ Kailey Zemba during the Cadets’ 49-33 win over the Bishops Saturday in an Ohio sectional final.

BEVERLY, Ohio — One point in the third quarter.

That was the difference in host Fort Frye’s 49-33 Division IV girls basketball sectional championship here Saturday afternoon versus Zanesville Rosecrans.

After a close first half ended with the visiting Bishops on top by just 20-19, Fort Frye tallied 18 points in the third quarter while limiting Rosecrans to a single point to blow open the game with a 37-21 lead going into the fourth quarter, which resulted in a 12-12 deadlock.

“I thought defensively we were already doing nicely, holding Rosecrans to 20 in the first half,” said Cadet head coach Dan Liedtke. “But I told our girls at halftime that Rosecrans was a good 3-point shooting team that could just let loose at any time. So I said as tight as we had played and as hard as we had worked defensively, we had to go up another notch — and I thought we did.”

First, Morgan Borich drove into the lane for a basket to open the second half, followed by Lexie Huck’s baseline banker before a Rosecrans free throw to make the count 23-21 in the Cadets’ favor.

But Fort Frye was just getting started as Kiersten Kesseling scored on a rebound bucket, Karlee Ross sank two foul shots, Kelsey Adkins had a breakout steal for a layup, Borich canned a trey and Huck followed with a 3-ball too before Ross completed the third-period onslaught, taking a feed coming down the lane for a hoop as the Cadets took command of the game.

“I thought defensively we did a nice job keeping them pretty much at bay in the second half without getting very many shots off,” said Liedtke. “And in the first half, we were not taking it to the hole. But in the second half when we started taking the ball to the basket, that’s when everything started opening up for us on offense.”

For Fort Frye, now 17-7 on the season, Borich led the point parade Saturday with 15, while Ross netted 12, Huck put in eight and Liv Schneider contributed six.

Rosecrans, finishing its cage campaign at 12-11, was paced point-wise by Claire Creeks with 13 along with both Kailey Zemba and Tessa Lettick with eight each.

This was Liedtke’s ninth sectional crown in his nine years heading up the Fort Frye girls program. Liedtke, who also previously coached the Cadet boys cagers too for quite a many years, said that winning in the postseason “doesn’t ever get old, that’s for sure.”

He made note too that “as young as this team was, we won the PVC (Pioneer Valley Conference) and now with winning the sectional, this is big for us and good for our young kids, who matured a lot this season. There’s still a lot of youth mistakes happening, but they’ve come a long way. We had wins that were ugly, but we won. So it’s getting better.”

Fort Frye now advances to district play at 7 p.m. Wednesday versus the winner of Saturday’s Shenandoah-Steubenville Central sectional final matchup with a site to be determined.