Just under a year ago, John Hardaway told people to keep an eye on then-sophomore Austin Frazier.
An unheralded bench player for Cashion at the time, Frazier was part of a team that qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 1995.
Now he’s got a bigger role in one of the most anticipated seasons in Cashion High School history and made his coach look prophetic in his first career start.
The Wildcats opened their 2020-21 campaign Thursday with a 67-35 dismantling of visiting Stroud.
Now a junior, Frazier scored 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds and swiped six steals to lead his team in each category.
“Notbadforyourfirst-ever start,” said Hardaway, whose team enters this season ranked No. 3 in Class 2A.
Frazier missed just two field goals all night for a team that, for the most part, was rusty from the field.
“If we would have shot the ball well, we really could have scored some points,” Hardaway said. “They just weren’t falling.”
Cashion was just 7 of 37 (18 percent) from 3-point range and shot 35 percent overall.
“We’ve got to be better than that,” Hardaway said. “And I know we will be.”
However, the Wildcats had 14 steals as a team and forced 26 turnovers overall. Whereas Cashion attempted 71 field goals, Stroud only managed 46 attempts.
The onslaught started early as Cashion got out to a 16-4 lead. The Wildcats continued to build on it each frame.
Vance Raney knocked in 16 points to go with six boards and four steals.
Jonah Jenkins added nine points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Schenk drains ‘special’ trey as Cashion girls win
The best moment in Cashion’s season-opening win against Stroud on Thursday didn’t come in the game’s decisive run or with clinching free throws.
Instead, it came in the opening moments when senior Bella Schenk opened the 62-53 victory with a 3-pointer.
“It was a special moment,” second-year head coach Andrea Taylor said. “There were a lot of tears.”
Schenk’s had her share of them. She tore her ACL prior to last season and was cleared in August to play again.
She made it through the preseason, but recently discovered the new ACL had ruptured, putting her on the shelf yet again.
Like a lot of schools uncertain about this season’s tenure, Cashion opened with “Senior Night” and Schenk got the start and promptly made the opening shotbefore making her way back to the bench.
While Cashion got the emotional boost, it was Stroud that led 11-10 after a quarter.
Cashion outscored the Lady Tigers 21-15 in the second. The teams traded leads in the second half before the Lady Wildcats pulled out the win.
Neeley Tilley-Bedick scored 20 to lead the way.
Issy Reeves poured in 13 and Brooke Shelly 10 for the eighth-ranked team in 2A.
“We have a lot of potential, but we have a lot of work to do,” Taylor said. “I’m glad we’re only going to get better from here.”