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Fort Frye girls thump Marietta

MARIETTA, Ohio — Right now, the undefeated Fort Frye Cadets want one thing — good competition.

They got a taste of that Saturday night against a Marietta team that trailed them just 15-12 after a quarter. However, the Cadets turned it on in the second quarter, outscoring the Tigers 19-5 to take a 34-17 lead into halftime. Fort Frye kept its foot on the gas from there and cruised to a 64-33 victory.

The Cadets are now 8-0 this season and are a near lock to be ranked in the first statewide polls that are set to be released this week. They haven’t lost a basketball game in nearly a full calendar year and look forward to every test they can get on the court.

“What these girls want is competition,” said Fort Frye head coach Dan Liedtke. “I don’t think it matters who it is. When we came into this game, we knew we were going to get to play a good team. I think the better the team is, the more fired up they get. Anytime you’re playing somebody close, it’s a rivalry. Warren’s a rivalry, Waterford’s a rivalry. I’m just glad to see that we do get to play some teams like this right now.”

Fort Frye will be tested again Thursday when it visits Berne Union, the team it defeated in the Sweet 16 last season. If the Cadets can keep shooting and defending as well as they did Saturday, they’ll be tough to beat.

Against Marietta, Fort Frye finished 25 for 52 (48%) from the floor and limited the Tigers to 26% (11 for 43).

Marietta took its only lead of the night when Morgan Altenburger drained a 3-pointer to make it 5-2 early in the first quarter.

Hannah Archer answered with a 3 and then made a layup to put the Cadets back on top before Jessica Smith’s putback tied it at 7-all. Back-to-back triples by Lexie Huck put Fort Frye in front for good, and Kenzie Dalton’s drive stretched the lead to 15-7. The Tigers, however, scored the final five points of the quarter, thanks in part to baskets by Jennifer Smith and Addie Hill, to get back within three.

Karlee Ross and Dalton opened the second period with buckets to increase the lead to seven, but a 3-pointer by Hill trimmed it back to four.

That’s when Fort Frye completely took over.

A 3-pointer by Archer jumpstarted a 12-0 run by the Cadets, which was halted by a Jennifer Smith putback, but Liv Schneider answered right back with a trey to give the Cadets a 17-point halftime lead.

When the Cadets scored 11 of the first 14 points of the second quarter, making it 45-20, that was all she wrote.

“I thought we executed really well throughout the game,” Liedtke said. “I knew they were going to come out hungry after us. I thought we did a nice job. It was a seesaw back and forth there (in the first quarter). We did a good job after that of pushing the ball, handling the ball, and defensively just really cracking down. We were stopping a lot of their penetration. They’ve got a nice team. I just felt we were executing the offense very well.”

Dalton had a monster game for the Cadets. In addition to scoring 13 points, she also contributed nine assists, eight steals and six rebounds. The junior guard made life difficult for Marietta’s backcourt all game.

“I’ll say this, Kenzie just makes things happen,” Liedtke said. “She just is all over the floor. She’s got extreme quickness and a knack for the ball. Her quick hands, she’s able to handle the ball so well going left or right. Very hard to stop her as far as her attacking the basket. She handles that ball with her head up and she sees the floor so well, and that just makes everybody else good.”

Archer led Fort Frye with 14 points, but it was a balanced scoring effort. Dalton added 13, Ross netted 12, Schneider scored 10 and Huck finished with nine.

Hill tallied 13 points to pace the Tigers, who struggled behind the 3-point line in the game (5 for 26).

“They got some off, but then I thought they were kind of forcing some, and that’s what we wanted,” Liedtke said of his defensive gameplan. “We wanted them to feel a little uneasy and try to make it a hurry shot for them and not let them just get their feet set. That, along with keeping them from penetrating the ball.”

Altenburger finished with eight points for Marietta while Jennifer Smith added seven.

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