FRONTENAC — The Frontenac Raiders jumped out to an early 13-2 lead against the visiting St. Paul Indians Friday night, and rode the early cushion to a 55-44 victory.
The Raiders were paced by senior Ryan Menghini’s 13 points and a ball-hawking defense that forced 12 steals on the evening.
The first quarter saw Coach Doug Barto’s team looking to establish its presence on the inside early and often. The first three offensive possessions ran through senior Carlos Herrera on the block and he was able to either score or find wide-open teammates for easy layups. Sophomore Broc Ginavan displayed his passing skills as well, by assisting on three of the first five Raider baskets of the night. Just three minutes into the quarter and Frontenac was already up 13-2.
Barto likes to substitute in waves, and at the midway mark of the first, he sent in five fresh Raider players. St. Paul was able to make a little bit of a run against the new Frontenac five, but an acrobatic coast-to-coast layup and the foul play by senior Christian Owens electrified his teammates and the home crowd. The Raiders led 20-13 after one.
A near-horrific collision occurred right in front of the St. Paul bench, as senior Terry Young and an Indian player converged at the same place at the same time in pursuit of a loose ball. The play ended with a beautiful form tackle by Young, which drew the foul.
St. Paul was able to slowly chip away at the Frontenac lead as the second quarter played out, eventually tying the game at 27-all with one minute to go before halftime. Neither team scored in the final minute and headed to the locker rooms tied.
The second half was a display of defensive basketball by the Raiders. They opened the third quarter with a quick 4-0 run and would extend that lead to 38-29 with just over two minutes to go. Frontenac was not able to score again in the quarter, but they held St. Paul to only two baskets in the quarter. Heading into the final quarter, Frontenac led 38-31.
Frontenac pushed their lead to ten with 6:30 to go in the game; that lead would balloon to 17 points, 51-34, with just under three minutes to go. Over a period of almost 13 minutes of game time, the Raiders had held St. Paul to only seven points. The Indians would come alive towards the end of the quarter, but they never got within 10, and Frontenac won 55-45. Besides Menghini’s 13 points, the Raiders were led by Isaac Bicknell and Herrera’s 9 points each. Christian Owens chipped in seven points off the bench and Broc Ginavan added seven points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Missed free throws sink Frontenac girls
Friday night was a game of “What If” for the Frontenac Lady Raiders. Though they played good defense and were able to dominate the St. Paul Indians in rebounding , a slew of missed free throws were the difference in the ball game. In a close back-and-forth affair, St. Paul was able to escape Frontenac with a hard fought 54-47 victory.
St. Paul was able to get inside against the Frontenac zone defense and pulled out to an early 6-1 lead. The starting five for the Raiders were finding it hard to get good looks, and the good shots they took were simply not falling. Substitute Ashlie Young seemed to jump start the Frontenac offense upon her entering the contest. She scored immediately off an inbounds play and scored again shortly later. However, the Raiders were finding it hard to slow the Indians defensively, allowing St. Paul to extend to a 15-5 lead.
Entering the second quarter down 9 points, a 5-0 Frontenac run cut the lead to 17-13 with 5 minutes to go in the half. The Raiders were driving hard to the hoop on nearly every possession, earning numerous trips to the free-throw line. However, Frontenac was plagued by missed free throws, leading Coach Rakes to yell out in frustration, imploring his team to please make their shots from the charity stripe.
The problems from the line aside, Frontenac did turn up the defensive pressure and were able to slowly climb back into the ball game. The Raiders even took the lead, following a personal 6-0 run by junior Kaylee Harper, with two minutes to go in the half, at 19-18. St. Paul would close the quarter out on a 4-0 run to head into the locker up 22-19.
The third quarter was dominated by runs. Frontenac used a 6-0 run to tie the game at 25-all with just over 4 minutes to go. This was covered by a 4-0 run right back by St. Paul. Not done, following a basket by Frontenac, the Indians would go on a 9-0 run, out-hustling the Raiders and leaving them visibly tired. St. Paul was living and dying by the three-pointer all evening, and in the third, they were living well. Going into the final quarter, the Raiders trailed 37-28.
After falling behind by 10 with just under one minute gone by in the fourth, Frontenac turned up the defensive pressure and went on a 5-0 run. Again, the Raiders were attacking the St. Paul defense, looking to force the issue, and their efforts were rewarded with the Indian players committing fouls and sending Frontenac to the free throw line. The Raiders simply did not hit enough to draw them closer to St. Paul. The Indians simply made enough plays down the stretch to earn the win, 54-47.
Harper led the Raiders with a double-double, 11 points and 12 rebounds. Emily Merando had nine points. Madison Davis added seven points off the bench, and Ashlie Young contributed six points, seven rebounds, two blocks, and two steals in a reserve role.