Business-like Fort Frye eliminates Martins Ferry

CAMBRIDGE – It was business as usual for the Fort Frye girls’ basketball team Thursday night.

Unfortunately for Martins Ferry, it had a front row seat.

The battle-tested Cadets (21-3) had little trouble with the outmanned Purple Riders (14-10) in a 70-23 Division III co-sectional tournament romp inside the Gene Ford Gymnasium.

“They are a very special team,” Martins Ferry head coach Lindsay Coyne said of Fort Frye. “I would be surprised if I don’t see them in Columbus at the state tournament.

“They are just very fundamentally sound,” she continued. “They probably shot 75 percent from the field. They shot the lights out.”

While the Cadets didn’t quite reach that lofty mark, they did connect on 56.3 percent (27-for-48) of their shots from the field, including a red-hot 10 of 16 (62.5%) from behind the three-point arc.

“You have to be playing your best at this time of the year, and I like where we are at right now,” veteran Fort Frye head coach Dan Liedtke offered. “We’ve played some sectional games in the past where it has been tight.

“This is the fourth straight sectional title for this team, and with the talent that we have back this year, the sky’s the limit, but these girls also know that you have to come out and play your best every night.”

After Fort Frye took a 2-0 lead, Martins Ferry’s Jessica Kinney drained a trey from the left corner to put the Purple Gang up 3-2 with 5:02 on the clock.

However, the Cadets would reel of 16 unanswered counters to lead 18-3 at the end of one quarter. Senior point guard Morgan Liedtke, daughter of the head coach, led the way with eight lightings, including two of her five triples.

The Beverly-based quint bumped the count to 39-9 at the half and watched as it grew to 57-19 after three.

“We had a defensive plan going in,” Coyne explained. “It worked at first, but we just couldn’t score. We knew our defense was going to be there, but we also knew we had to make some baskets and we couldn’t do that.

“We had some good looks, but sometimes it just doesn’t go in.”

Martins Ferry was only able to mesh 10 of 36 shots from the floor.

Kinney, who along with four other classmates played their final game in a Martins Ferry uniform, had a team-best 11 points, despite playing on an ankle she injured during practice earlier this week. She also grabbed five rebounds.

“I commend her for playing like she did,” Coyne said of Kinney. “There’s a lot of girls that could’ve easily said I’m not playing. I’m hurt. But not Jess. She didn’t want to let her team down and she played to the best she possibly could.”

Liedtke led all scorers with 17 points, while Brooke Borich added a dozen. Shawntell Parsons came off the bench to score nine, while Deidra Combs, Taylor Buchanan and Micayla Hupp all tallied eight a piece.

In addition to Kinney, Coyne will say goodbye to Meghan Rose, Kylie Stalder, Addie Suriano and Shaina Oberdick.

“With this being my first group of seniors, they will always be special to me and people that I will always remember,” she allowed. “They bought into what I was coaching and teaching. I know that was hard with someone coming in for their senior season, but I hope they know that I will always be there for them.”

Fort Frye advances to district action Thursday at Steubenville High School’s Crimson Center. It will meet either Ridgewood and Tusky Valley.

FORT FRYE (70) – Borich 4 2-2 12; Hupp 4 0-0 8; Mo. Liedtke 5 2-2 17; Buchanan 4 0-0 8; Combs 4 0-0 8; Parsons 3 1-1 9; Me. Liedtke 1 0-0 2; Hart 1 1-2 3; Skinner 1 0-0 3; Totals: 27-48 6-7. MARTINS FERRY (23) – Kinney 5 0-0 11; M. Stalder 0 0-0 0; Rose 0 0-0 0; Suriano 0 0-0 0; Oberdick 1 0-1 2; Lee 1 0-0 3; K. Stalder 1 0-0 3; DeLeonardis 0 0-0 0; King 2 0-0 4; Totals: 10-36 0-1.

Three-Point Goals: Fort Frye 10 (Mo. Liedtke 5, Borich 2, Parsons 2, Skinner); Martins Ferry 3 (Kinney, Lee, K. Stalder)

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