ERIE -- Alex Therrien is one of those players who isn't a starter, but he often logs starter minutes.
On Friday night, he left the Frederick coaching staff no choice but to keep him in the game.
The 6-foot-3 junior scored 19 points off the bench, helping the Warriors to a gritty 59-52 win on Erie's home floor. The Warriors, who remained in striking distance of the Class 4A Tri-Valley League's top spot, improved to 2-0 on the season against the upstart Tigers.
"I knew I had to be a strong sixth man and come in and hit shots," Therrien said. "We didn't get that hot of a start, so I knew I had to get us the lead."
Therrien came out sizzling with three quick baskets, including two 3-pointers, to close the first quarter. Then he helped the Warriors (14-6, 8-3) close out Erie with six more points in the fourth.
Erie had pared a 12-point deficit down to 42-39 entering the fourth, but Therrien and company made sure the Tigers (8-11, 5-6) got no closer.
"We always feel fortunate to get a road win in this conference," Frederick coach Larry Frank said. "In this state overall, it's hard to do."
Frederick edged Erie 44-42 at home on Jan. 15, and this one unfolded similarly with the teams exhibiting extra zest for a rivalry game. The play of the night, and perhaps the season, was turned in by Frederick senior reserve Joe Wise.
Wise had one man to beat on a fast break in the second quarter, and averted the defender with an around-the-back dribble before punctuating the move with a two-hand flush.
"I think it pumped us up a little too much," Frank said. "I mean, he made a good athletic play. But then they came down and hit two 3-pointers. We didn't do our job defensively because we were a little too emotional after the play."
Frank wasn't entirely satisfied, noting the Warriors' free-throw shooting (14-for-28) continues to be a concern, and that his team was only mildly effective in limiting Erie sharpshooters Dylan Brink and Kyle Leahy.
Brink finished with 19 points and Leahy with 14, but the tandem never fully caught a simultaneous groove.
"We're starting to hear the other coaches mentioning us a lot," Brink said. "We're just going to try to keep feeding off each other and keep getting better."
Brink said the sting of defeat was accentuated after narrowly losing to a nearby rival for the second time in less than a month.
"It's real tough. We're going to hear about this, because we know a lot of them with them being so close," Brink said. "We'll get 'em next year, hopefully."
Fueled by a perimeter frenzy, Frederick appeared poised to stage a rout early in the second half. The Warriors drilled seven 3s in the first half and Austin Rivera (12 points) nailed two more in the opening minutes of the second half to make it 40-28.
That was it for the treys, but partially by design.
"We noticed they were starting to step out to the 3-point line, so we went inside," Therrien said.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21
Frederick 59, Erie 52
At Erie HS
FREDERICK (14-6, 8-3)
Adams 1 4-6 6, McGraw 2 0-0 4, Rivera 3 4-4 12, Martinez 2 1-2 7, Miller 0 1-4 1, Burgess 0 0-0 0, Broz 1 1-4 4, Wise 1 1-6 3, Therrien 7 2-2 19, Gomez 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 14-28 59.
ERIE (8-11, 5-6)
Leahy 4 4-4 14, C. Brink 2 0-0 4, D. Brink 7 3-5 19, Melton 0 0-0 0, Tallman 1 0-0 2, Smith 2 0-0 5, Lucas 0 0-0 0, Egan 1 2-2 4, Baker 2 0-0 4. Totals 19 9-11 52.
Score by quarters:
Frederick 18 15 9 17 -- 59
Erie 11 15 13 13 -- 52
3-point field goals -- Frederick (9): Therrien 3, Rivera 2, Martinez 2, Broz, Gomez; Erie (5): Leahy 2, D. Brink 2, Smith. Total fouls -- Frederick 13, Erie 21. Fouled out -- Leahy. Technical fouls -- None.