Fort Frye downs Morgan in OT, 64-57
BEVERLY — Fort Frye vividly remembered last season’s 63-44 district semifinal loss to Morgan leading up to Tuesday’s showdown against the Raiders.
Thanks in part to 22 points from Luke Huffman, a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double from Nic Hart, plus 15 points and five assists from Kelton Fogle, the Cadets got their revenge with a 64-57 overtime victory.
“Our guys wanted this game pretty bad,” said Fort Frye head coach Eric Henniger, whose Cadets are now 10-1 and ranked No. 7 in Division III.
“We lost to them twice last year –once in the regular season and once in districts. Our guys think about that stuff. We didn’t talk about it a lot because I know these kids are already thinking about. They didn’t need extra motivation from me.”
Hart and Fogle have made their names known around the state, and when they’re playing well, Fort Frye is tough to beat. When Huffman plays like he did Tuesday, it just gives the Cadets another dimension.
“We have a lot of scorers,” Huffman said, who was honored along with his classmates as part of Fort Frye’s senior night. “(Hart and Fogle) do a lot of the work. When another team has to guard four or five guys it just makes it tougher for them.”
Huffman scored 15 of his 22 points in the pivotal second half. He made four 3-pointers in the game. Hart and Fogle have a knack for getting to the rim, but when the Raiders’ defense collapsed, Huffman made them pay from outside.
“We’ve been thinking about it a lot,” Huffman said of last year’s district semifinal loss. “So it really felt good to get this game.”
Fort Frye had the edge out of the gate, scoring the game’s first nine points — five coming from Huffman.
Morgan responded with a 10-0 run, but Fort Frye took a 16-12 lead by the end of the period on a Fogle 3 at the buzzer.
Down 20-14 in the second, Morgan’s Gabe Altier scored five straight points before a deep 3-pointer by Carver Myers gave the Raiders (8-5) a 25-22 halftime lead. Myers finished with a team-high 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
“If you hold (Myers) to 19 in a game like this, that’s a pretty good job considering how good he is,” Henniger said. “I’ve been telling everybody he’s probably the best all-around player that we play. He does everything right.”
Altier added 13 points and Colin Janes chipped in 12 for Morgan. Jason Wells dished out five assists.
Huffman hit a pair of 3s early in the third to put Fort Frye back in front but Morgan stayed with the Cadets and trailed by just two, 39-37, going into the fourth.
Huffman’s 3 and Fogle’s basket to open the final period put the Cadets up seven, but Morgan got a basket from Cutter Myers and a 3 by Altier to get within three, 46-43. Carver Myers then made four straight foul shots to put the Raiders in front by one, but baskets by Hart and Huffman gave Fort Frye a 50-47 lead with 40 seconds remaining. Morgan got the ball, and Carver Myers drove and dished to a wide open Janes in the corner, who drilled the triple and sent the game to OT.
After a Morgan turnover, Hart knocked down a deep 3-pointer, and after the Cadets got another stop, Hart made two shots at the charity stripe to make it 55-50. Altier answered with two free throws, but Huffman and Hart made all their foul shots in the final minute to secure the win.
“We made free throws at the end,” Henniger said. “That’s going to be huge in these types of games. Morgan’s a very good team and for our guys to make our free throws at the end obviously was a big help.”
Morgan, like many teams, has had some of its best players in and out of the lineup due to COVID-19, but has handled the adversity well and stayed competitive. The Raiders are back in action Friday at River View, and head coach Rob Justice doesn’t think Fort Frye and Morgan have seen the last of each other.
“Fort Frye is a good team,” he said. “It was a good game. I’m 100% sure we’ll see them in the tournament. It’s probably going to come down to us in the sectional championship, maybe even the districts. We’ll be ready.”