CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Frankfort's Cinderella postseason dance continued on Wednesday night as Abby Beeman and her Fightin' Falcons fought off Bridgeport 53-52, to clinch a berth into the AA semifinals.
Less than twenty seconds left in the game, Bridgeport leads Frankfort 52-51 and the Falcons have the ball. Every soul in the Civic Center knew who was going to take the last shot for the Falcons. Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, the game clock wound down to only single digits and collectively Falcon Fans held their breath.
Abby Beeman had the ball in her hands and she worked her way from right to left dribbling around the perimeter just in front of the Lady Indian defense. Bria Jacobs of Bridgeport kept her body between Beeman and the basket until Macie Miller ran from the backside and set a pick which freed up enough space for Abby to see daylight and bust the double team. Abby Beeman described the action to setup the game winning shot, “I wanted some picks set so I could turn the corner ... I got loose, split the double team and then it was just a layup for me.”
Beeman’s basket kissed off the glass with 4.9 seconds left on the scoreboard. Bridgeport Coach Dennis Hutson commented on Abby scoring the last basket, “We sure didn’t want her to get to the rim for the last shot, that's for sure.”
With time still left on the clock, Bridgeport had a chance to win the game but a last second shot missed as the buzzer sounded and the Falcons clinched a berth into the AA Final Four. Frankfort Head Coach Mike Miller talked about Beeman’s clutch performance, “I’m glad she decided to take over in the second half.” Coach Miller continued, “Abby’s desire to win is second to none. Her passion, her will and her effort took over in the second half.”
This was an epic battle between two mentally and physically tough teams that traded punches from start to finish with 12 different lead changes and 7 different ties throughout the contest. Frankfort led 11-6 after the first quarter but Bridgeport led 24-22 at the half. With 4:24 left in the 3rd quarter the Lady Indians were winning by seven points. Frankfort was able to fight back in the fourth quarter outscoring the Lady Indians 14-9 which was just enough for the Falcons to barely beat Bridgeport by a birds beak 53-52.
Abby Beeman led the Lady Falcons with 26 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Beeman was downright deadly from deep connecting on five 3-pointers for 15 points, drilling treys from NBA range.I thought I was watching the second coming of Steph Curry. Dennis Hutson, Bridgeport Head Coach
Sophomore power forward Makenna Douthitt scored 9 points and pulled down 9 rebounds for the Falcons. Macie Miller finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and a clutch pick that setup the winning shot. Senior sensation Claire Howell was a force in the paint trading elbows with the bigs on Bridgeport scoring 6 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Ashley Phillips finished the game with a pair of 3-pointers and 6 rebounds for Frankfort. Kylee McGuire saw some quality action on the floor as she stepped in for 11 minutes and defensively helped the Falcons get the victory.
Emily Riggs led the way for Bridgeport scoring 20 points while Rory Marple finished the game with 11 points. Kaitlin Smith scored 6 points and Paige Humble tossed in 6 points as well. Sarah Haynes scored 5 points and Bria Jacobs finished the game with 4 points for the Lady Indians.
Next up for the Falcons is #1 North Marion (25-1). Tipoff is today, Friday March 9th at 1:00 p.m. North Marion visited Short Gap on December 9th and came away with a narrow 80-76 victory. The only loss for North Marion this season came against Mineral County rival Keyser who knocked off the Huskies 61-55 on December 29th. The North Marion Lady Huskies advanced to the semifinals hitting a controversial last second shot to beat the Bluefield Beavers (14-12) 56-54.
NOTE: There was some confusion as to whether the North Marion shot should count. With 0.3 seconds left on the clock the rules were interpreted by the WVSSAC officials that a player could catch and shoot the ball. According to NFHS rule 5-2.5, however, it states: “When play is resumed with a throw-in or free throw and three-tenths (.3) of a second or less remains on the clock, a player may not gain control of the ball and try for a field goal. In this situation, only a tap could score.” The WVSSAC confirmed after the game that the rule in fact was ‘misapplied.’
On the other side of the bracket No. 3 Wayne (25-1) handled No. 6 Logan (18-8) 52-44. The No. 2 seed Wyoming East Warriors defeated No. 7 Lincoln 65-39. Wyoming East will play Wayne at 9:30 a.m. today March 9th in the semifinals. Will Frankfort be able to knock off North Marion and get to the championship. Coach Mike Miller’s mindset, “Why not us?”