After dodging a "tornado" in Steubenville, the Fort Frye girls' basketball team has new life on the tournament trail when it plays Frankfort Adena in an Ohio Division III regional semifinal game at Logan's Jim Myers Gymnasium at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.
The Dan Liedtke-coached Lady Cadets, No. 11-ranked in D3 with a 23-3 overall record, were nearly sidelined by the West Muskingum Tornadoes (14-11) in last Saturday night's district title tilt, but rallied from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to win 47-45.
"We were definitely out of sync and in a deep hole," Liedtke said. "Give the West Muskingum girls a lot of credit. They played a tremendous game.
Photo courtesy of Pam Brooker
Fort Frye’s Deidra Combs, center, gets ready to grab a rebound after a foul shot against Rosecrans earlier this season. The Lady Cadets are scheduled to play Adena in a regional semi at Logan Wednesday night.
"But then we went on a run (in the fourth quarter), and our girls showed what they're made of. In tournament play, if you can squeak by in a game like this, that's a plus."
Senior Taylor Buchanan scored what proved to be the game-winner for FFHS on a perimeter shot with just seconds left on the clock.
"Brooke (Borich) was dribbling, and just kind of handed it off to me," said the 5-foot-10 Buchanan. "I just shot it, and didn't really think about it. I'm just glad it went in, and we won."
Buchanan, who is Palm Beach (Fla.) Atlantic University-bound after graduation, finished the game with five points, about seven below her average per contest this season.
Borich, a 5-6 junior point, paced the Lady Cadets with 14 points.
Against Adena, Fort Frye is also expected to start Deidra Combs, Morgan Liedtke, and Micayla Hupp.
Buchanan, Combs, Borich, and Liedtke each is an All-District honoree.
Also, Buchanan and Combs each is a 1,000-point career scorer.
Jeran Cox-led Adena had a little easier time of it in its district championship game, routing Ironton, 41-28, at the Ohio University Convocation Center Sunday. The senior-oriented Lady Warriors got off to a slow start, though, and even trailed 5-2 at the end of one.
But after an 8-0 run at the start of the second quarter, Adena was in command and the owner of a 19-11 lead at the intermission.
Point guard Natalie Cooper led the way with a game-high 16 points, including six in the second period. Jenny Grigsby and Alyssa Kennedy each chipped in with eight markers.
Grigsby, the Scioto Valley Player of the Year two years in a row, is averaging 16 points and eight rebounds a game this winter, shooting 73 percent from the foul line and 50 percent from the floor.
Rounding out the Lady Warrior starters will probably be Michelle Ackley, Alyssa Dawson or Bethany Delong.
"They're a team a lot like us," Dan Liedtke said. "They're fundamentally sound and well-balanced. It's going to be a tough game.
"Our girls have worked hard, and they want to keep practicing and keep playing."