ST. CLAIRSVILLE - River just couldn't get into the flow Saturday afternoon.
As a result, the top-seeded Pilots dropped a 46-22 decision to Fort Frye in the Wheeling Hospital OVAC Girls' Basketball Championships' Class 3-A title game inside Ohio University Eastern's Health and Physical Education Building.
Falling behind 13-2 after one quarter, River (16-6) would never mount any type of offense as the No. 2 Cadets (19-3) turned up their defense.
"Fort Frye is a good basketball team," River coach Rick Isaly said. "They're sound defensively and they're good on the offensive end.
"You have to play your 'A' game when you play this team if you're going to beat them, and we didn't play our 'A' game."
Fort Frye, which defended its title, jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on back-to-back treys by Morgan Liedtke and Taylor Buchanan and never looked back.
Shawntell Parsons made it 8-0 before the Pilots would dent their side of the scoreboard when Cassidy McCullough scored at the 1:17 mark.
The Cadets led 13-2 after the first quarter, but River made a run in the second. The Pilots cut the deficit to 21-15 with just under a minute to play before halftime, but Morgan Liedtke knocked down a three-pointer with 31 ticks on the clock for a 24-15 advantage.
"That's something we didn't want to do is fall behind early, and that's exactly what we did," Isaly said. "We made that one run there in the second quarter, but the third quarter was another bad one."
Indeed it was as the Cadets held the Pilots to three points in the period, and seven total in the second 16 minutes.
"We just basically clamped down on them," Fort Frye coach Dan Liedtke said. "We tried to press some their in the second quarter and they were getting through us. We decided at halftime that we were going to go back to our basic halfcourt, solid defense.
''That's what we work on every day in practice. That's one of our goals is to keep the other team from scoring as much as possible.
"So, even if we're not having a good shooting day, we can still be in the game because of our defense."
River was a meager 3-for-15 from the field (20 percent) in the second half. For the game, the Pilots connected on 10 of 34 shots.
Meanwhile, Fort Frye shot 35 percent (17 of 48).
The telling stat, however, was rebounding where the much taller Cadets pulled down 31 - 12 off the offensive glass - to nine for the Pilots.
Fort Frye's Diedra Combs led all scorers in the game with 14 points, one more than teammate Taylor Buchanan. Combs also yanked down half-a- dozen rebounds, as did Micayla Hupp.
Senior Cassidy McCullough paced River with eight points. Jensen Caretti had three rebounds.