Cougars roar: 3-ball helps Frontier hand Waterford 1st setback

WATERFORD – The Frontier Cougars continue to live and die by the 3-point shot.

Friday night at Waterford Elementary, they lived by it.

The Cougars made 12 3-pointers and shot 46 percent from beyond the arch to end Waterford’s undefeated start to the season with a 66-56 victory.

The Wildcats were able to hold Drew Schneider, who hit nine treys against Beallsville Monday, to three triples Friday.

However, Schneider’s teammates proved they can hit from behind the 3-point line as well with Nick Camino hitting four, Rodney Barnes draining 2 and Damon Metheney, Jeremiah Helmick and Jake Bradford each making one.

“I thought we shot the ball extremely well from 3,” said Frontier head coach Roger Kirkpatrick. “This is the third game in a row that we’ve shot well from 3.

“As long as we’re making the 3-ball and holding teams to 50 or under, we’ll be alright.”

Overall, Frontier was 22-for-47 (47 percent) in the contest from the floor while Waterford was 22-for-58 (38 percent). The ‘Cats did not have similar results to the Cougars beyond the arch, connecting on just 5-of-20 (25 percent) 3-point attempts.

“We talked about their 3 capability,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “We had to approach out. We had to push them off.

“They got clean looks. I give them credit. They’re shooting the 3-ball well. That’s the best we’ve seen the 3-ball shot all year.”

Frontier doubled up Waterford in the first quarter, leading 16-8 after the opening period.

Tanner Pottmeyer accounted for the Wildcats’ first three field goals, but baskets by Camino and Barnes and a 3-ball from Helmick gave Frontier a 7-6 lead. Schneider then got in the action with a trey followed by a 2-point basket from Barnes to make it 12-6 and force Waterford into a timeout.

Eventually, Eli Strahler found Wyatt Porter under the basket for a layup, but the Cougars countered with a 3-pointer by Camino. Barnes assisted on the shot to end the first quarter.

Camino dialed up from 3 again to open the second period and make it 19-8 in favor of Frontier, but Waterford used a 9-0 run to get back in the game.

Layups by Mitch Ginther, Cody Paxton and Trystan Crawford, along with a 3-pointer by Strahler cut the deficit to 19-17.

The Cougars answered right back with a 6-0 run to end the half. Schneider split a pair of freebies to make it 20-17, then Camino collected a steal, dribbled down the court and dished to Helmick for a lay-in. Schneider followed that with a traditional 3-point play to give Frontier a 25-17 lead at halftime.

Then, Frontier went off.

The Cougars outscored Waterford 22-13 in the third period to increase their lead to 17 points.

Frontier made eight shots in the third quarter, six of which were 3s. The Wildcats didn’t have a bad offensive quarter, but they were unable to keep up with the Cougars’ 3 parade.

“When you’re shooting 2s and they’re shooting 3s, that starts to add up,” Simms said. “Especially the way they’re shooting the 3.”

At the 6:18 mark, Metheney got it started with a trey. Strahler responded by floating in a basket but Schneider quickly fired back with another triple.

Paxton then scored four straight points to make it an 8-point game, but right on cue Camino splashed a 3-pointer. For a change of pace, Schneider then stepped inside the 3-point line and hit a jumper to make the score 36-23.

Again, though, the green and white cagers battled back with six straight points to bring the deficit within single digits for the final time.

Camino followed with a deep 3 before Schneider put in a layup. After Paxton made a basket, Jake Bradford joined the party by swishing a 3 to make it a 14-point game.

“We wouldn’t be patient against the zone,” Simms said. “We were wanting to force early and chuck and then they’d transition and hit the 3.”

Schneider then delivered the finishing blow, a 3-ball from Jimmer Fredette-range at the buzzer to give Frontier a 47-30 advantage going into the final stanza. Barnes opened the final quarter with a 3-point basket to make it a 20-point game. A 3 by Pottmeyer and a pair of layups by Ginther would cut the deficit to 15 points with 5:39 remaining, but the Cougars wouldn’t let Waterford get within striking distance.

“I”m proud of our kids,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s hard to come into that Waterford gym and win.”

Camino had a game-high 21 points, with Schneider scoring 18 and Barnes adding 12. Waterford was led by Paxton’s 18 and Pottmeyer’s 15.

Frontier (4-5) has now won three contests in a row and will look to make it four when Fort Frye visits New Matamoras on Jan. 7. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish the season,” Kirkpatrick said. “I keep preaching that to the kids. We’re a lot better than we were the first game.”

Waterford (6-1) will look to rebound from its first loss of the season next Friday when it hosts Trimble.