Cadets top Noles: Combs sparks Fort Frye in OVAC girls’ semifinal

BEVERLY – Trailing 18-12 early in the second quarter of an OVAC semifinal game against Monroe Central Wednesday night, Fort Frye found itself in unfamiliar territory.

Instead of panicking, however, the Lady Cadets powered their way to a 26-3 run to go up 38-21 at halftime.

With the win, Fort Frye (18-3) moves on to the OVAC championship Saturday at Ohio University Eastern, where it will square off against River. Fort Frye and River split the regular season series.

“We’ve got to go over there and play right from the start,” said Fort Frye head coach Dan Liedtke. “We can’t come out slow. River’s got good athletes, good players. We’ve got to be ready right from the start. I think that’s the key for us.”

Monroe Central (12-8) plays tonight against Shenandoah in an OVAC consolation game.

If the Lady Cadets can continue to put the ball through the hoop the way they did against the Lady Seminoles Wednesday in Beverly, they will be tough to beat.

Fort Frye shot 27-for-50 (54 percent) from the floor and made 10-of-23 (43 percent) 3-point attempts. Monroe Central, on the other hand, was 16-for-43 (37 percent) shooting in the contest.

“They started putting some pressure on us,” said Monroe Central head coach Troy Baker. “I thought we got some good looks still. Some of them we knocked down, some we didn’t. (Fort Frye) seemed to make four, five or six in a row there and most of them were 3-pointers.”

Cheslie Roberts hit two 3-pointers early in the second period to give the ‘Noles an 18-12 advantage.

After Michelle Adkins banked in a 3-pointer, Brooke Borich followed with consecutive 3s on assists from Adkins and Morgan Liedtke to put the Cadets up 21-18. Deidra Combs then scored four consecutive points to increase the lead to seven points.

Later, a three-point play by Chelsie Tewanger cut it to 26-21, but Borich and Morgan Liedtke quickly countered with back-to-back treys to make the score 32-21. After Combs and Micayla Hupp each scored baskets, Borich found Taylor Buchanan in the corner for a long 2-point jumper at the buzzer.

“In the second quarter, we just kicked it in gear,” said the Fort Frye boss. “Once we started getting in the flow of things, everything fell for us.”

The Cadets fed off the 17-point halftime advantage, going on a 12-2 run to open the second half. Hupp led the stretch with four points while Borich and Morgan Liedtke each hit 3-pointers.

Tewanger would finally convert on a three-point play followed by a Roberts fastbreak layup to stop the bleeding a bit, but Fort Frye still held a 50-28 lead.

Morgan Liedtke then went on to hit 3-pointers in the final minutes of the third quarter and opening minutes of the fourth quarter to put the Cadets up 62-31 and seal the deal.

“They’re a good team,” Baker said of Fort Frye, “and when they’re making their shots, they’re a really good team.”

Combs led all scorers with 18 points and also contributed seven rebounds and five assists. Morgan Liedtke and Borich added 15 and 12 points, respectively, all of which came on 3-point shots. Buchanan joined the trio in double figures with 11 and had a game-high eight rebounds.

Coach Liedtke was happy with the well-balanced performance.

“That’s what this team is,” Liedtke said. “If we can keep that kind of stuff going with this team, then we’re ready for the post season.”

Monroe Central was led by Roberts’ 17 markers. Roberts and Anne LaFollette each grabbed four boards to lead the Seminoles.