Frye's big night helps Warriors advance to 1A quarterfinals
Sat. February 23, 2013 at 1:39 a.m. | By Chris Singleton/Staff Writer
Houma Christian's Nate Frye (3) shoots a 3-pointer as East Iberville's Jayden Redditt defends during Friday's Class 1A playoff game in Thibodaux. Frye scored a game-high 43 points in the Warriors' 85-68 win. (Photo by Abby Tabor/Staff)
With just 2.1 seconds left in the third quarter, Houma Christian senior standout Nate Frye grabbed an inbound pass in his backcourt and heaved a prayer of a shot up to the skies.
The ball traveled through the air in a perfect arch and landed in the Warriors’ net from 55-feet out as the buzzer sounded, sending the loud and crowded Houma Christian cheering section in E.D. White Catholic’s gym onto its feet in celebration.
The half-court shot, which was three of Frye’s career-high 43 points, gave the Warriors all the momentum they needed to pull off a 85-68 Class 1A regional round win over East Iberville on Friday.
The eighth-seeded Warriors (19-9 overall) will now travel to play No. 1 Christian Life at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Class 1A quarterfinals in Baton Rouge.
Houma Christian, which opened up with leads of 23-19 at the end of the first quarter and 35-34 at halftime, saw the momentum of the game start to shift in No. 9 East Iberville’s favor in the third quarter.
East Iberville’s Tyler James got a big offensive rebound that gave the Tigers their first lead at 43-41 with 4:05 left in the third. The Tigers (16-12) extended it to 49-46 when big center Braylen Dailey highlighted a three-point play with an offensive putback with 44 seconds.
Houma Christian got lay-ups from Guy Campbell and Frye, plus a Tigers turnover with 2.1 seconds left, that set up a shot that Warrior fans will remember forever.
Frye’s buzzer beater put Houma Christian ahead 53-49 heading into the fourth quarter, sparking a 32-19 fourth quarter run that helped the Warriors roll to victory.
Frye, who also grabbed more than 15 rebounds, said his shot came at a perfect time, which ended East Iberville’s run and helped send Houma Christian to its first trip to the quarterfinals since the 2011 season.
“Basketball is all about momentum,” Frye said. “That’s why I love the game. Teams can make a run, but you can do one thing to get your team back in the game. I just shot it up and let it go. I saw how it was coming off, and I kind of knew it was going to go in. It went it in.”
After watching Frye’s performance, East Iberville coach Doug Schultz said he is now a fan of the senior star.
“The big shot took some of the air out of us,” Schultz said. “No. 3 (Frye) is a great player. We played a couple of guys like him when we played against Christian Life earlier this season. They are good too. I can’t wait to see that matchup next week.”
Campbell, who battled it out inside against players twice his size, finished with 23 points for Houma Christian, and Keamon Sims added 13 points.
East Iberville had four scorers in double-digits in Darryl Ingram (17 points), James (14 points), Jayden Redditt (12 points) and Dailey (10 points).
Houma Christian coach Freddie Frye said the Warriors were beaten up during a tough pre-district schedule against bigger schools with better athletes during the regular season, which he said prepared them for this moment in the playoffs.
“You look at what these kids are able to do and you just take your hat off to them,” Coach Frye said. “They’ve worked so hard. To watch the look on those kids faces when the game ended was what every coach wants to see out of his team in a playoff situation. These kids are playing extremely well, and they are playing hard. Nobody gives us any respect from the standpoint that we’re a little bitty school, but we’re doing some things with the kids that is just phenomenal.”
During the third quarter, Coach Frye said he challenged Nate to step and inspire his team to victory, and his son responded with the best game of his prep career.
“In the last four or five games, Nate has taken it upon himself to carry this team,” Coach Frye said. “Not that he’s doing it all by himself, but he’s playing at the level that he should be playing on as he prepares for college ball. I told Nate right now that you are a college freshmen, so if you are thinking about playing on the next level, you’ve got to play like that right now. He did a great job.”
Coach Frye said East Iberville was the bigger and stronger team, but he praised the efforts of players like Campbell, Sims, Drake Battaglia, Connor Bates, ShaQuan Frye and others for stepping up to the challenge.
“I’m extremely proud of all the kids,” Coach Frye said. “Guy did a good job of posting up inside and getting some baskets. Keamon and Drake did a great job of taking care of the basketball. ShaQuan got some key rebounds. Connor did a good job of moving without the basketball. It was just a good effort all around for the kids.”
Schultz said the Warriors were short-sized, but they were able to slow down the Tigers ability to get the inside.
“We couldn’t get the matchups that we wanted,” Schultz said. “Whenever our big guy (Dailey) got the ball, he had two or three people around him. They just played good defense. I was surprised with how well they rebounded. I looked at them before the game and thought we could out rebound them, but they just looked good. I’m looking forward to seeing (Frye) play on the next level.”
The Warriors will now face their toughest task of the season against No. 1 Christian Life in the quarters, but Campbell said they won’t back down from the fight.
“It doesn’t matter who we play,” Campbell said. “We’re just going to go out there and play our game. We’re going to keep playing hard and with all our heart.”
After the game, Houma Christian officials thanked E.D. White Catholic for letting the Warriors use its gym to host the playoffs.
Nate Frye said it was an honor to play in the same gym as his father Coach Frye, who is a former E.D. White Catholic basketball standout.
“I’ll never forget this moment,” Nate Frye said. “My dad and uncles played in this gym. It was just a special feeling winning this game (Friday). I had my career high and never scored 43 points before, so it was just good to come in this gym where all my ancestors played and do this. I give all glory to God.”