Prep boys basketball: Caldwell boys drill Frontier 76-43

CALDWELL – Frontier brought a five-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s game at Caldwell largely due to its ability to knock down the long range shot.

The Cougars ended up getting a taste of their own medicine as the Redskins connected on 11 three-pointers of their own en route to a big 76-43 Pioneer Valley Conference boys’ basketball win.

Junior guard Tanner Harding accounted for seven of those treys as Caldwell jumped out to a 15-point lead at halftime and never looked back to notch their second win in a row.

“Tanner has had three really good games in a row for us,” said Caldwell head coach Clint Crane of Harding. “He’s a really streaky shooter and he’s made a big difference for us these past few games.”

The Redskins shot nearly 55 percent (29-53) in the game, including 11-of-23 (48 percent) from behind the arc, while the normally dead-eye Cougars struggled to make just 25 percent (7-of-28) from long range.

Harding and Justin Figel gave the Cougars a sneak peek of what was to come right off the bat as they connected on back-to-back game opening triples to give the Skins a 6-0 lead.

After Nick Camino got the blue and gold on the board with a drive to the bucket, Caldwell got consecutive baskets by Tanner Clark, Tanner Baker, and Caleb Heller to push the lead to 10.

Frontier began to show some life as Rodney Barnes sparked an 11-4 run with a field goal and a trey to cut the lead to three, but Caldwell answered with hoops from Jonathan Weichman and Heller to stake claim to a 20-13 lead after one quarter of play.

The white, black and red began to put some distance between themselves and the Cougars in the second quarter as they scored 12 of the first 16 points to increase their lead to 15 at 32-17.

The Cougars threatened to make things interesting before intermission as a strong drive to the hole by Jeremiah Helmick and a three-ball from Barnes cut the lead to 32-22, but once again Caldwell had the answer as they scored the final five points of the half to push the lead back to 15 at 37-22.

While the Redskins were doing a lot of their damage from the outside in the first 16 minutes, they showed off their ability to go inside in the third quarter as Clark drove strong to the basket no less than four times as the Redskin lead swelled to 56-29.

After a runner by Frontier’s Damon Metheney opened the final quarter, back-to-back triples by Harding gave the Cadets a 31-point lead to put things out of reach for good.

Harding’s 21 points led all scorers while Clark added 17 points and six assists.

Weichman totaled 13 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists despite sitting for most of the final period after suffering what appeared to be an eye injury.

“He’s (Weichman) capable of going out and scoring 30 points just about anytime but we are a much better team when he is more well rounded and getting other kids involved,” said Crane.

The Redskin head coach was also pleased with the unselfishness displayed by his team on offense.

“Our kids are sharing the ball really well,” said Crane of his Skins, who dished out 15 assists in the game. “They are really starting to learn their roles and understand what we want out of them.”

Barnes led the Cougars in scoring with 13 points, including three triples while Camino reached double figures with 11.

Cougar head coach Roger Kirkpatrick believes his team’s lack of size makes it awful hard to overcome a night when their long range shooting is not on.

“It was just one of those games where we couldn’t get any shots to fall,” said Kirkpatrick. “Caldwell came out and jumped on us right off the bat and give them the credit they played very well.”

The Cougars, who slipped to 6-6 overall with the loss and 2-5 in the conference will visit Fort Frye on Friday night, while the (8-5, 5-3) Redskins will look to keep their PVC titles hopes alive when they travel to Hanibal to take on the River Pilots.