BEVERLY — Waterford High was down 13 points to host Fort Frye early in the fourth quarter.
Making the most of the remaining time, the Wildcats composed themselves and rallied with a 16-0 run to defeat the host Cadets, 45-42, Monday night in a girls’ basketball rivalry game.
“Well, that’s good to see this time of the year out of this group of kids,” said WHS head coach Jerry Close. “We haven’t been in this situation where we’ve had to fight back like that against a good team — and the kids did a really good job tonight.”
Rachael Adams and Mackenzie Suprano paced the Cats (19-4) with 11 points apiece while Emily Kern added 10, 8 in the final period.
“We’ve been playing 10 kids all year,” Close said. “So, everybody did their part tonight. And, defensively is where they got it done. If we could make a few more free-throws, it would make it a lot easier.”
Waterford was 13 of 25 from line, 8 of 16 in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats shot 38 percent (14-37) from the field.
Fort Frye (18-4) was 14 of 24 from the charity stripe and 12 of 38 (32 percent) from the floor.
The Cadets were led by Morgan Borich’s 11 points. Karlee Ross chipped in with 10, and Kiersten Kesselring netted 7.
“These games here are good,” said FFHS boss Dan Liedtke, whose Cadets nipped the Cats, 36-35, earlier in the season. “This is district level-type play right here.
“Naturally, I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the win. But we have to move on, and get ready for the tournament now.”
Both schools struggled offensively in the opening period with Fort outpointing WHS, 8-6.
In the second quarter, the Cadets stretched their advantage to 9 (20-11) on a Ross freebie at the 1:14 mark. But shortly after a Wildcat time-out, Suprano drained a 3, and the green and white cagers trailed 20-14 at halftime.
Sparked by Borich’s 6 third-quarter points, Fort never trailed in the stanza, and owned a 37-28 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
Early in the final period, the Cadets had a 5-0 run on a Kesselring putback and Borich bucket and bonus freebie to make it 42-29.
But with 6:40 left in the contest, there was plenty of time to stage a comeback — and that’s exactly what Waterford did, scoring 16 unanswered points. Kern scored 8 points and Adams 6 to lead the charge.
“We had a 13-point lead and it was kind of a deja vu, the same thing over there (Harry Cooper Annex),” Liedtke said “We got ourselves in foul trouble, and that really hurt us. We’re not all that long, deep in the bench. It was just crucial things here and there.
“But at the same time, the players that were in, I had confidence in them. Things bounced our way the first game, and things bounced their way in this game.
With 1:42 left, the Wildcats tied the score at 42-all when Adams converted two free-throws. Then, with a little over a minute remaining, Kern’s putback put the green and white on top by a deuce.
Adams was 1 of 2 from the line with 9 seconds left to help seal the victory. The Fort did attempt a desperation shot but it was the mark.
“Our girls are not going to quit, and that’s what I like to see,” Close said.