Warren dunks Fort: French, Patton lead Warriors to win over Cadets

BEVERLY – Reece Patton scored all 17 of his points in the second half and Evan French tossed in a game-high 26 as visiting Warren broke open a close ballgame with a huge second half to defeat Fort Frye, 73-57, Saturday night.

The 6-foot-3 Patton spent the majority of the opening half on the bench after drawing his second personal foul but made up for lost time in the third quarter as he triggered a 25-13 Warren run that turned a five-point deficit into a seven-point lead heading to the final period.

“He (Patton) got two quick fouls and I was afraid on the road to chance it so we rested him in the first half,” said Warrior boys basketball coach Blane Maddox. “We sure used him in the second half and I was happy with the way he responded after sitting out all that time.”

French brought the crowd to it’s feet early on when the Warrior senior intercepted a Fort Frye pass and cashed in at the other end with a big two-handed dunk to give Warren a 4-2 lead.

The Warriors increased their early lead to 9-3 on inside buckets by Aaron Mazurkiewicz and Andrew Drayer.

Justin Anderson had been making a habit of coming off the bench and providing the Cadets with instant offense, and the freshman was at it once again as he drilled a three-pointer late in the first quarter and opened the second period with another to tie the game at 11-11.

Each team would take turns taking the lead numerous times in the second quarter with Warren’s Andrew Henthorn giving the lead back to the royal blue and white late in the half with a putback bucket.

Chandler Lang answered for the Fort as the senior drilled a 25-footer as the buzzer sounded to send the Cadets to the locker room with a 25-24 lead at the intermission.

Warren struggled with it’s long range shooting in the opening half as it missed all six of its attempts from behind the arc.

Fort Frye carried the momentum of Lang’s buzzer beater into the third quarter as quick scores by Lang and Carter Kiefer gave the Cadets their biggest lead of the game at 29-24.

Patton made his presence known with a three-ball to cut the lead to two and an old fashioned three-point play by French sent the Warriors back in front 30-29.

Jordan Anderson tied the game again for the Cadets by making good on one-of-two free throws, and Kiefer sent the Fort back in front by converting a pair of foul shots.

French, who had a rare off game earlier in the week in the Warriors loss to Portsmouth, began to heat up as well as his first triple of the game sent Warren back in front but Seth Legraen answered with a field goal for the Fort.

That would prove to be the last time the Cadets would have the lead as Patton’s second three-ball of the quarter sparked a 16-8 quarter-ending run by Warren to send it into the final period with a 49-42 advantage.

Any hopes of a Cadet rally were quickly dashed to open the final period when the Warren big three – Patton, French and Michael Hall – all tconnected on quick buckets to make it 56-42.

“They (Warriors) have three very talented players that really did their job tonight,” said Cadet head coach Eric Henniger. “We were able to stay with them for quite awhile but we just couldn’t counter them in the second half.”

Fort Frye was never able to get the lead any closer than 14 the rest of the way as Warren pulled away for its third victory in four games.

“I thought we were able to wear them down a little bit in the second half with our size and our physical presence,” said Maddox. “We stayed focused and we did what we had to do and it was nice to see us come together a little bit tonight.”

French, an All-Ohio honoree last season, finished with a double-double with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Patton and Hall added 17 and 12 points, respectively.

Fort Frye featured a balanced attack wtih four Cadets finishing in double figures. Lang and Kiefer netted 14 points apiece, while Legraen and Justin Anderson each had 11.

Henniger felt that the Cadets losing the battle of the boards by a 36-21 margin was a big key for the loss.

“We had an ice cold stretch wear we couldn’t hit any shots and then we didn’t rebound,” he said. “They killed us on the boards and that is the difference in the game right there.”

Maddox and his team fully expected a tough matchup from the Cadets.

“It’s always a great game between these two schools and tonight was no different,” said Maddox, whose team will hit the road for a game Tuesday against Fairfield Christian. “They are a handful and I think they are going to have a great season.”

The Cadets slipped to 3-1 with the loss and will next return to Pioneer Valley Conference play with a big showdown with Monroe Central Friday night in Woodsfield.