BYESVILLE - Fort Frye head coach Eric Henniger knew what to expect from Harrison Central on Wednesday night. His players? Well, it took a little seeing is believing for them to be convinced.
By the 5:24 mark mark of the second quarter, the Cadets had seen enough. At that point, Fort Frye went on a 24-3 run en route to a 62-36 thumping of the Huskies in an Ohio Division III boys' basketball sectional final inside Meadowbrook High School.
''Coming out, (Harrison Central) was a lot faster than the guys expected,'' Henniger said, moments after sniping the final piece of net down from the second of two rims.
''I told the guys they were a very fast team. They realized they were faster after a few minutes and realized they had to match their quickness. That's what it came down to, matching their quickness. I thought our guys did a good job of that.''
Fort Frye (21-3), the OVAC Class 3A tournament champions, edged Harrison Central (13-11) in almost every phase of the game in earning a trip to next Tuesday night's district semifinals at Ohio University Eastern. Awaiting them in the 6 p.m. contest will be the winner of Friday's sectional final between St. Clairsville and Garaway.
''They have a lot of wins for a reason,'' Huskies head coach Justin Clifford lamented. ''They're a good basketball team. I really thought the way we came out and started the game was how we'd play.''
It's true the Huskies look good early. A 3-pointer by Cory Yoho have Harrison Central a 7-2 lead about 2 minutes into the game.
Fort Frye rallied to tie the game, then grabbed a 9-7 lead on a layup by Carter Kiefer,
Later, with the score tied at 11-11, the Cadets went on a 7-0 run, capped by a driving layup by Tyson Niceswanger to start the second quarter.
Then, with 5:24 showing on the second-quarter clock, Austin Kowalski drained a 3 to bring Harrison Central within four at 20-16.
Henniger quickly called time. It sparked his club on what turned out to be the winning run.
Chandler Lang scored four of the next six points as Fort Frye went up 26-16. Following a Kowalski jumper, the Cadets scored 16 straight points, making the score 42-18.
The final six points were scored starting the third quarter on back-to-back 3-point plays by Seth Legraen and Jordan Anderson.
Simply put, Fort Frye couldn't miss during the spurt, while Harrison Central couldn't hit. The Cadets won the second quarter, 20-7. Then, in the third, the Huskies mustered only nine points and just one field goal.
''When you don't put the ball in the hoop it puts you behind the 8-ball,'' Clifford said. ''They made shots then we had to take some chances and they made us pay.''
Henniger said his team executed his defensive gameplan to near perfection.
''I knew Harrison liked to penetrate and kick it out for the 3,'' he said. ''We're a good defensive-minded group and they do a good job.''
Kiefer finished with 16 points. Legraen added 11, while Lang had 10.
''Seth is our leading scorer with 17, but for the most part it's pretty balanced after that,'' Henniger said. ''If he has a bad night, I know I have three or four guys that can get double-digits and that's a good luxury to have.''
Brandon Mitchell paced Harrison Central with 10. Yoho finished with nine.
''Hopefully, we'll learn from this,'' Clifford said. ''I'll take this group any night, with the effort they give night in and night out. You can't fault their effort.''
HARRISON CENTRAL (36) - K.Mitchell 2 1-2 5; Kowalski 3 0-0 7; Johnson 0 1-2 1; B.Mitchell 3 4-6 10; Rutter 0 0-0 0; Walrath 1 0-0 2; D.Redish 1 0-0 2; Evans 0 0-0 0; Yoho 4 0-0 9; Olmstead 0 0-0 0; Christian 0 0-0 0; T.Redish 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 6-10 36. FORT FRYE (62) - Kiefer 6 1-1 16; Klinger 0 0-0 0; Shuster 0 1-2 1; Ju.Anderson 2 0-1 5; Brooker 1 0-0 3; Huck 0 0-0 0; Ja.Anderson 4 1-1 9; Legraen 4 3-3 11; Niceswanger 1 0-2 2; Lang 2 5-6 10; Madison 2 1-2 5. Totals 22 12-18 62.
3-Point Goals: Kowalski, Yoho; Kiefer, Ju.Anderson, Brooker, Lang.
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