Hardwood Heroes

Our Payton Brooker breaks down the matchup between the Fort Frye Cadets and Waterford Wildcats on February 14th, 2023.

Fort Frye dominates rivalry matchup, defeats Waterford 63-41

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Waterford, Ohio (WOUB) – It was an animated atmosphere at the Cooper as the Waterford Wildcats hosted the Fort Frye Cadets in their biannual rivalry matchup. In their first meeting, the Cadets escaped with a 56-53 victory over Waterford. The Wildcats have been riding solid form into this matchup as they had cruised to three straight victories. Beyond just the win streak, Waterford defeated each team by at least 13 points in each matchup.  

Despite their streak, the Wildcats struggled to replicate that performance against the Cadets. The Cadets jumped out to a 12-2 lead early on the back of repeated turnovers. Turnovers became a recurring issue for Waterford on the night. After these initial struggles, the Wildcats pieced together their best stretch of the night. Gabe Ponchak drew a foul to get to the charity strike, and Jarett Armstrong contributed to the offensive onslaught by knocking a three-pointer. Exiting the first quarter, Waterford trailed Fort Frye 15-10.  

From the first whistle, the second quarter saw the Cadet defensive lock down the Wildcats. Waterford simply could not get their offense off the ground as they were outscored 21-7 in the second quarter. Waterford finished the night with 12 turnovers. That propensity for turnovers did them no favors against a hyper-efficient Fort Frye squad. Second-chance opportunities undermined the Wildcats all night long as the Cadets repeatedly imposed their will under the glass. As a result of these factors, Waterford entered the locker room trailing 36-17.  

The Wildcats showed signs of life in the third quarter. Making use of a rejuvenated three-point game and physical play, Waterford clawed their way within 13 points, but that was as close as the contest would be for the rest of the night. For every step the Wildcats took forward, it seemed like they took two steps back. For Frye seized control out of a timeout as they responded with three-pointers of their own. The Cadet defensive excelled at forcing contested shots which greatly disrupted the Waterford attack. Fort Frye entered the fourth quarter ahead 45-26.  

By the fourth quarter, the deficit was too great for the Wildcats to overcome. The Cadets coasted through the fourth quarter with little issue to claim a 63-41 victory. Fort Frye has now swept the season series. For Waterford, they look forward to their regular-season finale against the Miller Falcons. Next week, they will journey an hour and a half to take on West Latham in the first round of the playoffs.