KEYSER - Tied 54-54 with only seconds on the clock, Frankfort Falcon forward Jansen Knotts stood at the top of the key with both hands on the orange rock.
The atmosphere was electric as fans stood screaming while the student section counted down ...11...10...9...8 and then Boom!
The play unraveled like it was in slow motion as Jansen jolted left and put the ball on the floor. Keyser was playing man-to-man defense and forward Jacob Hanlin was draped all over #22 in blue applying physical pressure. Knotts uncorked a quick burst of speed and stayed low to ground creating just enough space for a possible path to the basket. Once Jansen gained the lane he lofted a left handed layup that kissed off the backboard and swished through the net. The ball bounced to the floor while Falcon Fans jumped to the sky almost touching the rafters.
6'3 sophomore Jansen Knotts described how the play unfolded, “I knew Zach and Parker were going to be closely guarded and it was my time to take over. I had confidence in myself and my team had confidence in me. I listened to my coaches who told me to take the ball to the hole.”
This play was simply remarkable from an external pressure standpoint combined with the athletic ability it took to convert the play. While Jansen drove to the basket he was fouled midflight with the ball secured in his southpaw. The cherry on top was the and-1 free throw which hit nothing but net. If you were wearing columbia blue this was a special night for you as the Falcons swept the season series to officially claim the championship belt of Mineral County.
This game was certainly a contrast of halves. In the first quarter the home team was colder than Canada shooting the basketball as Jackson White tossed in all of 5 points for Keyser. In fact Zach Whitacre outscored the entire Golden Tornado team after 8 minutes of play scoring 7 points. Frankfort held a 12-5 lead at the start of the 2nd stanza. Both teams shook off the rivalry butterflies with Keyser scoring 16 points in the 2nd quarter hitting shots from downtown however the production was out matched by Frankfort pounding home 19 points for a comfortable 31-21 halftime lead. In the second half Keyser trailed by 11 at the 6 minute mark in the third quarter then they made a big comeback helped by a 14-4 run which covered part of the third quarter and early into the fourth. With 6:32 remaining in the game the Golden Tornado took the lead 47-46 for the first time all game. The final six minutes resembled two great heavyweight fighters trading blows back and forth using a variety of tactics and strategies. Eventually this led to the fantastic finish as ‘Big Shot’ Jansen Knotts came through in the clutch. Frankfort staved off an epic Keyser comeback barely holding on for a slim 57-54 win.
Zack Whitacre had a terrific day scoring 16 points, Knotts finished with 15, and Drew Mauzy added 9 points. Parker Riley contributed 7 to the total while Dalton Pollock chipped in 6 points. For the Golden Tornado Jackson White had a big night sinking five 3-pointers and scoring a total of 19. Ryan Shoemaker scored 15 points, and Brady Clay finished with 10 points. Tonight the Keyser Golden Tornado (6-6) are back in action on their home hardwood playing against the Sentinels of Fort Hill. The Frankfort Falcons (9-3) are also back in action this evening as they look to hammer the Hampshire Trojans in Romney,WV.