Fort Frye loses to Ridgewood

Cadets drop hard fought decision

Fort Frye’s Tyler Bradford drives past a Ridgewood defender on his way to the basket during the Generals’ 56-48 Division III Sectional championship game win over the Cadets Friday night. Photo by Mike Morrison

BEVERLY — Chase Griffith tossed in a game-high 22 points to lead the Ridgewood Generals to a 56-48 win over the Fort Frye Cadets to claim a Division III Sectional Championship Friday night at Fort Frye High School.

Griffith scored 14 of his points in the opening half as Ridgewood grabbed a six-point halftime advantage and withstood every Fort Frye challenge in the second half to punch its ticket to district tournament play next week.

“This was a rebuilding process from the get-go because we only had two senior returners,” said Generals head coach John Slusser.

“We mixed in four sophomores and it took us a while to get going but the second half of the year we played a lot better and to get a win in an atmosphere like this is something we are very proud of.”

Fort Frye had struggled early in games of late but got on the board first when senior Brayson Schilling knocked down a triple.

The Cadets led 8-6 after the first quarter before Griffith began to heat up as he scored the first seven points of the second quarter to give Ridgewood a 13-8 lead.

Ridgewood increased its lead to eight midway through the second quarter and held a 28-22 cushion at intermission.

While the Cadets have struggled offensively in the first half of their past several games they have been very strong after the break and Friday night was no exception as they scored the first seven points to take a 30-29 lead.

Cadet junior Tate Engle scored all seven points including a 3 that briefly gave his team the lead.

“We started off the game well and did the same thing in the third quarter,” said Fort Frye head coach Eric Henniger. “Tate making those shots was crucial and got us thinking that things were going to go pretty well but we hit some dry stretches and they hit big shot after big shot.”

A two-pointer by Trey Staffer and a three-point play by Zach Wright quickly put the Generals back in front but a strong drive to the basket resulted in an old-fashioned three-point play by Cadet senior Tyler Bradford to knot the score at 33.

After a Koleten Smith field goal put Ridgewood back in the lead, Engle knocked down his second triple of the third quarter to once again put the Fort back in front by a point.

As he managed to do through much of the game Griffith came up huge for the Generals as his three-point play gave Ridgewood a 38-36 lead heading to the final period.

Hunter Mizer opened the fourth for the Generals with a score but a long 3 by junior Luke Nelson and a freebie by Schilling tied the game once again at 40.

Once again Ridgewood looked to Griffith and once again he responded as he scored four straight points to put the Generals in front for good.

Ridgewood made good on 21 of 27 free throws attempts and curtailed any idea Fort Frye had of jumping back into the ballgame by taking care of their business at the charity stripe.

Joining Griffith in double figures for Ridgewood was Zach Wright with 10 while Koleten Smith added nine.

“I didn’t tell our kids before the game but Fort Frye is a very good team in the second half so we knew they would make a run “ said Slusser. “The game was very physical but our kids did a great job of kind of staying in the moment and they really bought in defensively tonight.”

Fort Frye was led in scoring by Brady Schilling, who came off the bench to score 14 points on a seven-for-eight shooting performance while Engle added 12.

The game marked the final one for Fort Frye seniors Grayson Schott, Bradford, Brayson Schilling and Trae Dalton.

“I thought our effort was there tonight it just seemed like everytime we were about to get over the hump they would hit a big shot,” said Henniger, whose team finishes with a 13-10 record. ” We were executing on the offensive end the way we wanted to, they just made more buckets than we did.”

Ridgewood improved to 10-14 on the season and will take on the winner of the Sandy Valley versus Tuscarawas Valley game at a site to be determined on Tuesday.

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