STEUBENVILLE - Fort Frye finished off St. Clairsville in grand fashion.
The Cadets tallied a 19-2 run to break open a close game en route to smothering the Red Devils, 55-32, in an Ohio Division III Eastern District Semifinal Thursday night inside the Crimson Center at Big Red.
With the win, the Fort Frye girls' basketball team will face Garaway in the district final at 7 p.m. Saturday night back at Big Red. Garaway defeated Harrison Central, 61-37, in Thursday night's second semifinal matchup.
"They were playing tight on us," Fort Frye (20-4) head coach Dan Liedtke said. "We had a hard time moving. We had a hard time moving the ball. That threw us off. We were out of synch.
"We changed our offense. We started using back screens. Those back screens helped our offense. We were able to get some scores. We were able to get some easy shots. We were able to get good looks around the basket, and that got us going.
"We started executing."
Fort Frye 55, St. Clairsville 32
St. Clairsville 08-06-10-08 - 32
Fort Frye 09-17-13-16 - 55
ST. CLAIRSVILLE (18-7): Mick 2 0-0 6, Gillespie 0 1-2 1, DeFilippo 5 3-3 15, St. Clair 1 2-6 4, Cenkus 0 0-0 0, Sliva 2 0-0 4, Figura 1 0-0 2. Totals: 11 6-11 32. 3-Pointers: Mick 2, DeFilippo 2.
Fort Frye (20-4): Hesson 0 0-0 0, Adkins 0 0-0 0, Hart 0 0-0 0, Enochs 4 0-0 8, Parsons 3 0-0 7, Borich 7 4-7 22, Ma. Liedtke 3 0-0 6, Me. Liedtke 5 1-2 12. Totals: 22 5-9 55. 3-Pointers: Borich 4, Parsons, Me. Liedtke.
The Cadets' 19-2 surge turned a four point lead into a 35-14 advantage in the third quarter.
The Cadets took control of the game from that point. Once they got going, the Cadets played well on both ends of the court en route to pulling away for the victory.
"Fort Frye is a good team," St. Clairsville (18-7) head coach Alicia Freeman said. "We competed with them. They are just better fundamentally than we are.
"We worked very hard. Things just didn't fall our way."
Two players scored in double digits to lead the way for the Cadets. Brooke Borich contributed a game-high 22 points, and Megan Liedtke collected 12 points.
Also, Alexis Enochs scored eight points, Shawntell Parsons netted seven points and Makayla Liedtke tallied six points.
"We can say we lost to the No. 1 seed," Freeman said.
Anna DeFilippo finished with a team-high 15 points leading the way for the Red Devils.
Also, Brigee Mick contributed six points, Alexis St. Clair and Stephanie Sliva each scored four points and Lauren Figura recorded two points, Finally, Carlee Gillespie collected one point.
"The key thing was he did not want them to get from 3," Coach Liedtke said. "They have three very-good shooters. We wanted to stay on them.
"No. 12 (DeFilippo) got some good shot off on us that we didn't expect. We were not hedging out. We were not doing what we were supposed to. We tightened up. We limited their good looks.
"They can go to hole nicely too."
The Cadets made six shots from beyond the arc, while the Red Devils delivered four 3-pointers. Borich recorded four 3-pointers, while Parsons and Megan Liedtke each tallied one for Fort Frye. DeFilippo and Mick each made two for St. Clairsville.
St. Clairsville scored six straight points to take an early 6-4 lead. A 3-pointer by Megan Liedtke gave the Cadets a 9-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The 3-pointer started a 10-0 run that carried over into the second stanza resulting in the Cadets taking a 16-8 advantage.
Fort Frye appeared to be on the verge of running away with the game, but DeFilippo produced a four-point play keeping the Red Devils within striking distance at 16-12, but the rest of the half belonged to the Cadets.
The victors ended the half of a 10-2 spurt to take a 26-14 lead into the locker room.
The Cadets continued their strong play in the third quarter. Forty Frye recorded the first nine points of the quarter to cap off the run and to build a 35-14 advantage.
Trailing by 21 points, the Red Devils refused to go away quietly into the night. St. Clairsville responded with a 10-1 surge to pull within 36-24, but that was as close as the girls from Belmont County got the rest of the way.
Parsons 3-pointer gave the Cadets a 39-24 lead entering the fourth quarter.
"St. Clairsville doesn't quit," Coach Liedtke said. "They have no fear. They proved that against Ridgewood. Ridgewood had the size advantage, but St. Clairsville didn't quit. They got their shots blocked, but they kept going up with them. They did a nice job of staying positive."
The Cadets opened the scoring in the fourth quarter on a three-point play by Megan Liedtke, and Fort Frye was not threatened again.
St. Clairsville is losing three seniors from this year's team.
"I'm going to miss those girls," Freeman said. "We have a good group coming back, but I am going to miss those three seniors. I wish I had them back for another year not because of their talent, but because they are good well-rounded ladies."
Though they came up short against the Cadets, the season was a successful one for the Red Devils.
"I look at this season as a success," Freeman said. "We talked about being successful a lot. I don't think of success in terms of wins and losses. I think of it as doing your best for the betterment of the team, and the girls did that all year.
"We did some big things this year. We had a winning record. We won the Buckeye 8. We finished third in the OVAC. We made it to the district semifinals for the first time since 2009.
"This season was a huge success. We are going to build off of this, but we are going to miss our three seniors."
Fort Frye now turns its attention to Garaway.
The Pirates defeated the Cadets, 16-10, in the district final in 2011 at Big Red.
"They had a different coach and a different philosophy," Coach Liedtke said.