Lady Dragons face Fort Frye in Div. 3 regional tourney

Published 10:54 pm Monday, February 28, 2022

By Jim Walker

PROCTORVILLE — Fairland vs. Fort Frye Part 2.

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Earlier this season in a holiday shootout at Marietta College, the Fairland Lady Dragons beat Fort Frye 42-32 by outscoring the Lady Cadets 22-10 in the second half.

The two teams will meet again at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Logan High School but the stakes will be a little higher this time.

The game will be a Division 3 regional semifinal with the winner moving one step closer to a trip to the Final Four.

In the district finals, Fairland (24-2) rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Eastern Brown 50-47 and Fort Frye (20-4) downed traditional power Berlin Hiland 37-24.

Fairland coach Jon Buchanan said Fort Frye is a little different of a team than the first meeting.

“They’re a little more improved. They’ve got a freshman (Kimmie Duskey) that I don’t think played against us  much in December who was their leading scorer against Hiland. She not only scored well, she got offensive rebounds, she really had a great game,” said Buchanan.

Duskey missed several games earlier this year due to an injury including part of the Fairland matchup.

“She was the catalyst for the whole thing. I’m really glad I saw that game on Saturday because the film I’ve watched hasn’t shown a great light on her. She’s just been a normal kid. But what we saw on Saturday she was the MVP of the game.”

The leading scorer for the Lady Cadets is 5-8 senior Hannah Archer who averages 19.1 points a game and has signed with NCAA Division 2 Wheeling University.

“They’ve got tremendous shooting. The Archer kid was getting D1 looks just because she shoots the ball so well,” said Buchanan. “We thought that as a catch and shoot open shooter she’s probably the best we’ve seen in my 13 years. If she’s open, she’s going to make it.”

The point guard is 5-2 senior MacKenzie Dalton while 5-8 sophomore Kianna O’Brien and 5-8 senior Khloee Ross round out the starting lineup. Junior guard Gwyn Rauch may start with Duskey coming off the bench.

Dalton averages 12.6 and O’Brien 8.1 points a game.

“The point guard is the Dalton kid and she plays like 90 miles an hour. I’ve never seen anyone play with that kind of energy. She’ll just go and go and go on both ends of the floor,” said Buchanan. “She’ll try to get steals where you don’t really expect it.

“The O’Brien kid shoots it really well. We didn’t expect her to make as many perimeter shots as she did. We’re a little more aware of her ability to shoot the basketball. One thing about them, they might not be huge, but they’re all 5-7, 5-8 and can handle the ball.  I have two kids smaller than anybody they have.

“Ross is kind of a defensive play. She’s a screener, not much of a scorer. That’s not necessarily her role but she’s a really good post defender. I thought she did a really good job on the (Aila) Miller kid that’s going to Akron. She made that kid not look like a D1 kid.”

The ability to shoot 3-pointers and not much difference in height isn’t the only thing the two teams have in common. Buchanan said depth — or lack there of — is also on the table.

“They don’t play a ton of kids which is like us. We don’t play much of our bench either. They really only play six kids,” said Buchanan.

“They probably play their sixth man quite a bit more than we play our sixth man, but they’re not super deep either and they’re not very big. We might be a little bigger with Bree (Allen) and (Kylee) Bruce, but we’re pretty similar as far as our size goes.”

There is one mystery that Buchanan said the Lady Dragons won’t be able to know the truth until the teams play on Wednesday. He said that Fort Frye played a different style against Hiland as opposed to their normal game.

“They do a good job of spreading the floor, they’ve got guys who can shoot it and the Dalton kid does a really good job of getting in the lane,” said Buchanan.

But it’ll be interesting to see how they play because against Hiland they really slowed the game down. It was 13-8 at halftime. The game started at one o’clock on Saturday and it was 1:19 at halftime. Against us and the games we watched, they played normal. They took open shots, they didn’t try to be methodical. They just played.”

Fort Frye is coached by Dan Liedte who won his 700th career game on Feb. 24. Dalton and Archer are the only returning starters from last year’s team that lost in the regional semifinals and started the previous season in the Final Four.

Fairland will counter with a starting line that has no seniors.

Tomi Hinkle is a 5-7 junior point guard who is averaging 16.2 points a game along with 6.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

Bree Allen is a 6-footer sophomore forward averaging 17.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots per outing.

Kylee Bruce is a 6-foot sophomore center who averaged 9.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game.

Kamryn Barnitz is a 5-6 freshman who averaged 8.2 points and is an excellent 3-point shooter.

Reece Barnitz is a 5-6 junior who averaged 4.8 points a game and is also an excellent 3-point shooter like her younger sister.

December 22 Game

Fort Frye 14 8 3 7 = 32

Fairland 10 10 11 11 = 42

FORT FRYE (3-3): Emmie Duskey 1 1 0-0 5, Hannah Archer 2 1 0-0 7, Kianna O’Brien 0 3 0-0 9, Mackenzie Dalton 2 0 0-0 4, Gwyn Rauch 1 0 0-2 2, Khloe Ross 2 0 1-1 5. Totals: 8 5 1-3 32.

FAIRLAND (8-2): Reece Barnitz 0 0 0-0 0, Kaylee Salyer 0 0 0-0 0, Bree Allen 5 3 1-2 20, Tomi Hinkle 6 1 2-5 17, Kamryn Barnitz 0 1 0-0 3, Kylee Bruce 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 12 5 3-7 42. Fouls: 7. Fouled out: None.