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Local girls basketball teams in district semis today

Photo by Joe Albright Fort Frye’s Hannah Archer works in the paint against Steubenville’s Kylie Maxwell in a regular-season game. Archer, the District 12 Division III Player of the Year, leads her Cadets into a district semifinal today.

WATERFORD — Playing in the district semifinals is nothing new to the Waterford Wildcats.

After all, the Waterford girls basketball team has won an incredible 17 straight sectional championships, the latest coming via a 54-25 victory over Western Saturday.

Today, Waterford, along with four other local girls teams, will compete in the district semis. Waterford will match up with South Webster. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“I think it’s a really good matchup,” said Waterford head coach Jerry Close, whose team clinched a share of the TVC Hocking title last week. “They’re a really good team. You get that 4-5 (seed) matchup, so it’s not an upset either way.

“They’ve got a really good guard, (Bri) Claxon, and a really nice post player. She’s about 6-foot-1. Height-wise, they’ve got a bit of a mismatch in the post. It should be a good game.”

Claxon previously scored 43 points in a win over Eastern, so limiting her will be key.

Waterford (16-6) will counter with a group led by juniors Cara Taylor and Mackenzie Suprano.

In Saturday’s win, Taylor led all scorers with 16 points while Suprano netted 15.

Alayna Jones, Lakyn Jones, Riley Schweikert, Lily Franchino, Kari Carney, Briana Offenberger and Madi Hiener are other key players to watch for the Wildcats.

A Waterford win today could set up a big district final showdown with top-seeded Portsmouth Notre Dame Saturday.

WEST MUSKINGUM AT FORT FRYE

Speaking of teams with a long streak of sectional titles, Fort Frye won its 12th in a row last week against Buckeye Trail.

“We’ve won it (every year) since I took over the girls,” said Fort Frye head coach Dan Liedtke. “It’s a big honor to (win 12 straight) and to consistently do that, but we look for bigger things than that. We’ve just got to gear up and be ready for next week.”

The Cadets, now 20-1 overall, will look to keep their tournament run going when they play host to West Muskingum at 7 p.m. today.

Fort Frye is a team on a mission after COVID-19 prevented the Cadets from competing in the state tournament last year. Their only loss this season was on the road against Division II power Vinton County.

Leading the way for Fort Frye in the scoring column is junior Hannah Archer. Archer, the District 12 Division III Player of the Year, is averaging 17.4 points per game this season. When she gets to the free throw line, she’s nearly automatic, knocking down 87% of her foul shot.

Rounding out Fort Frye’s starting lineup will be fellow junior Kenzie Dalton and seniors Lexie Huck, Karlee Ross and Liv Schneider. Sophomore Riley Medley is the first player off the bench.

Liedtke was named the District 12 D3 Coach of the Year, while Dalton was a first teamer along with Archer. Huck, Ross and Schneider made the second team.

FRONTIER AT SHADYSIDE

They may be young, but the Frontier Cougars claimed a sectional title Saturday as well, edging River 46-41.

The Mike Cisler-coached team now has a tall task ahead, as it travels to top-seeded Shadyside at 7 p.m. today. The Tigers got the best of the Cougars twice in the regular season. They feature a talented roster led by Baylee Wach, Tory Hendershot, Paige Gorby and Gentry Brown.

Frontier, however, isn’t afraid of the challenge.

“The last four games we’ve played really well,” said Frontier head coach Mike Cisler. “I like our chances. If we can just control the pressure and attack the basket, I think we’ll do OK. Our young kids are playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

The Cougars (11-11) had a balanced scoring attack against the Pilots, receiving 12 points from Kara Ramsey, 10 from Logan Haught, eight from Emily Cisler, seven from Grace Knowlton, five from Tacey Kirkpatrick and four from Kylie Lamm. Jalynn Shapley and Jamison Schmidt also logged key minutes for the Cougars.

BELPRE AT PEEBLES

Belpre head coach Chris Murray knows exactly what his Golden Eagles are getting into at 7 p.m. today when they visit second-seeded Peebles.

The Indians have one of the best players in the state of Ohio in 2,000-point scorer Jacey Justice. Belpre (10-11) is confident after taking down Symmes Valley 64-36 in Saturday’s sectional final. However, the Golden Eagles know they’ll need to play well to pull off the upset tonight.

“They (Peebles) have the best player in the state,” Murray said. “She’s leading the state in scoring. She’s legit and now they got help. It’s going to be a tough game. She’s having a good senior year and it will be a tough environment for us.”

Belpre has plenty of talent in its own right. Against the Vikings, Kaitlen Bush (18 points), Curstin Giffin (17) and Halee Williams (13) all scored in double figures. Giffin also grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double.

ROSECRANS AT CALDWELL

Caldwell earned its way to the district semis as a seven-seed after upsetting No. 2 Monroe Central, 49-47, Saturday.

Up next is 12th seeded Rosecrans, which claimed an upset victory of its own Saturday over Shenandoah, 44-42.

The sectional championship was a big accomplishment for a Caldwell program that has worked hard to become successful under head coach Eli Svercek.

“We’ve talked for years now about competing for championships and (Saturday) it came into fruition,” Svercek said. “Can’t say enough about these girls and the effort today to make this sectional championship possible. Defensively and offensively they did everything we asked of them and worked on while preparing for this game.”

Cayton Secrest is the player who makes Caldwell go. She finished Saturday’s win with 22 points, 10 boards, seven assists and five steals. Klaudia Rayner, Jules Hood, Sheridan Archer and Madi Mumaw have all played an important role in Caldwell’s success.

The winner of this game will take on the winner of the Frontier-Shadyside game in the district final Saturday.

Jordan Holland can be reached at jholland@mariettatimes.com.

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