Cougars roll: Frontier girls beat Buckeye Trail, 50-35

NEW MATAMORAS – Frontier led from start to finish Thursday night as the Lady Cougars triumphed over Buckeye Trail 50-35 at Hank Morus Gymnasium on “Senior Night.”

The Lady Cougars had the stroke working as they hit on 21-of-40 (52.5 percent) shot attempts. Kelsea Daugherty led the offensive attack with 15 points while teammates Emily Hinton and Lexi Brookover added 12 and 10 markers, respectively.

Frontier was in a sharing mood, as 15 of the team’s 21 field goals were assisted, with Corisa Fickiesen handing out a team-best six dimes.

“Our girls are unselfish,” said Frontier head coach Scott Murphy. “There’s never anybody complaining about who’s scoring and who’s not. Very seldom do we miss an open person.

“These girls have got one goal…they wanna win basketball games. It doesn’t really matter who scores.”

Catie Smith had a nice game for the Lady Warriors, recording 10 points and six assists. Overall, Buckeye Trail was 15-for-38 (39.4 percent) from the floor in the contest.

“Defense is still kind of our bread and butter,” Murphy said.

“This was a game coming in I was a little concerned about. Buckeye Trail is athletic as heck. We knew we had to keep down their penetration and force them to shoot from the outside. At times we did that.”

Brookover and Jenna Maston opened the game with back-to-back buckets before Smith drove to the hole to give Trail its first points of the game. Frontier then scored six straight points to go up 10-2.

Later in the first quarter, Fickiesen assisted Hinton on a basket but Katie Larrick answered with a layup on an assist from Smith.

Still a 6-point game, Maston swished a jumper with five seconds remaining in the period to put the Cougars ahead 16-8.

Daugherty opened the second quarter with four straight points, but Larrick and Smith each made 2-pointers to keep it at an 8-point deficit.

Frontier closed the half on a 9-3 run to stretch its advantage to 29-15 at the break. With just under two minutes remaining, Sammi Morris assisted Daugherty and Hinton on consecutive mid-range jumpers. Later, Nikki Haught fed Fickiesen with a nice pass to set up a bucket with only four seconds left.

The Cougars briefly fed off that momentum to open the second half, using an 8-0 run to build a 36-15 lead.

A Bailey Cross layup at the 3:30 mark gave Trail its first points of the quarter and helped fuel an 11-4 run that cut the deficit to 40-26. Brookover responded by nailing a 2-point shot with a hand in her face at the buzzer to extend the lead back to 16, 42-26.

The Lady Warriors continued to fight in the final period, but Frontier kept answering.

Carley Hensley hit a pair of free throws and Sichina made a jumper, but Hinton knocked down a jump-shot on the other end.

A foul shot by Lexe Starr followed by a layup from Cross trimmed the lead to 44-33, but Brookover splashed two freebies to bring it back to a 13-point lead.

Trail’s last strike was a basket from Allison Sichina to cut it to 11, 46-35, but Daugherty scored on a transition layup and Hinton made another jumper to close it out.

“It’s hard not to be happy about a 15-point win,” Murphy said.

“Senior night, great win for them.”

Murphy said his team, now 13-3 overall and 8-2 in the Pioneer Valley Conference, likely has a two-seed in the OVAC tournament all but locked up.

“We should get to host a game with the win tonight, so that’s pretty exciting for my girls,” Murphy said.

The Lady Cougars’ next contest will be Monday when they take on Beallsville on the road. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.

NOTE: Frontier will play at Monroe Central on Feb. 1 in a makeup contest.