Prep girls basketball: Fort in regional final Saturday
Fort Frye’s overall balance on offense could be pivotal when the Cadets play Johnstown-Monroe in an Ohio Division III regional girls’ basketball championship game at Logan’s Jim Myers Gymnasium at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
At stake will be a first-time berth in the state tournament for whichever school wins in Columbus.
“There were just different people stepping up at different times,” said FFHS head coach Dan Liedtke after the Cadets (24-3) defeated Frankfort Adena, 66-47, in a regional semi at Logan Wednesday night. “That’s what makes this team a hard team to defend.”
The Fort was paced by 5-foot-7 senior Morgan Liedtke and 5-6 junior Brooke Borich, who each scored 14 points. Five-foot-11 senior Deidra Combs and 5-7 junior Shawntell Parsons added 11 points apiece, and 5-11 senior Micayla Hupp and 5-11 senior Taylor Buchanan each netted six markers.
Buchanan, Combs, Liedtke, and Borich each is an all-district honoree.
Also, Buchanan and Combs are each a 1,000-point-plus career scorer.
Even with a balanced scoring attack, Fort Frye was still in a tight game, and had to outpoint Adena, 26-9, in the final period to claim the victory.
That makes it two games in a row where the Cadets have pulled out and secured wins in the fourth quarter.
In a district final at Steubenville on March 2, Fort had to rally from a double-digit deficit in the last eight minutes of action to defeat West Muskingum, 47-45, on Buchanan’s buzzer-beater with just a couple of seconds remaining.
“In tournament play, if you can squeak by in a game like this, that’s a plus,” said Dan Liedtke.
From a squeaker a week ago to a final period runaway against Adena, Fort Frye got the “W” in both cases – and that’s the bottom line as far as extending the season goes.
Johnstown-Monroe (23-4) advanced to the final eight by virtue of its 53-47 triumph over previously undefeated Proctorville Fairland (23-1) at Logan, also on Wednesday. Johnstown’s district title win was a program first.
The Carl Dufford-coached Johnnies were determined not to let one star player beat them, and they succeeded.
Fairland’s 6-foot-4 Terra Stapleton was limited to just 11 points, including just one second-half bucket, by the Johnstown-Monroe defense. Shadowing Stapleton – who got into foul trouble with four personals – for much of the contest was 6-2 junior MacKenzie Spang.
Spang also had six of her eight rebounds in the final stanza.
Meanwhile, on offense, the Johnnies were led by 6-0 junior Paige Cannon’s 22 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
Laiken Valentine, a 5-6 junior guard, finished with 15 points, including six freebies in the final minute, and 5-5 junior Natalie Carpenter. the team’s scoring leader (16.5 ppg) on the season, chipped in with 13 markers.
Marissa Sheet, a 5-6 senior, rounds out the Johnnies’ starters at the point.
Fort Frye and Johnstown-Monroe match up pretty close on the hardwood.
Both have good size and rebounders in the paint, and are relatively deep on the pine.
Johnstown had a 49-26 rebounding advantage against Fairland.
While the Cadets are primarily senior-oriented, the Johnnies rely mostly on juniors.
Sheets is the only senior on the roster.
Fort had only 11 turnovers against Adena, but seven of them came in the third quarter.
Johnstown also struggled taking care of the ball, committing 10 first-half turnovers against Fairland. And, in the third quarter, the Johnnies were bothered by the Dragons’ press, which forced nine more TOs.
Like Fort in its district final, though, Johnstown kept its composure, and was able to rally in the fourth quarter to eliminate the Dragons.
The Johnnies also had zero turnovers in the final eight minutes of action.