SHORT GAP - As Frankfort's Saturday game against Fairmont Senior approached, excitement built to a fever pitch throughout the Frankfort community.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - As Frankfort’s Saturday game against Fairmont Senior approached, excitement built to a fever pitch throughout the Frankfort community.
Unless you were living under a rock, social media, water cooler and restaurant table talk from Carpendale to Fort Ashby made you aware of two things. First, that West Virginia class AA’s number two ranked team, the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears, were coming to Short Gap to test the Falcons. Second, that on Saturday, Frankfort senior sensation Abby Beeman was likely to get the 10 points she needed to reach the 2,000 point mark for her career.
On game day, the Frankfort community, and perhaps a few curious onlookers, piled into the Frankfort gym until it was filled to the rafters. They were there to see a good game, but most especially, they were there to see Beeman join the rarified air that is the 2,000 point club. Unfortunately, Fairmont Senior would prove to be too much on the day for the Falcons, as the Polar Bears prevailed 68-45.
The loss, however, did not dampen the spirits of the Columbia blue and silver crowd assembled, as with 4:28 remaining in the third period, Beeman drove to the basket from the left side and hit the layup that would give her 2,001 points for career.
The game stopped, people rose exuberantly from their seats, and confetti fell from the ceiling. With Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” playing over the loud speakers, officers from the Frankfort Athletic Booster Club presented Beeman with a plaque and sign declaring her as the “Establisher of the 2,000 point club” at Frankfort. “You’re simply the best, better than all the rest.” Those words from Tina Turner’s 1989 hit perfectly describe Abby Beeman’s basketball playing career at Frankfort. While certainly everything is up for debate, Abby Beeman’s record-breaking career spanning four outstanding seasons as a Falcon has solidified her as perhaps the greatest to ever hit the hardwood in Short Gap.
Consider the fact that Beeman became Frankfort’s all-time leading scorer in just her junior season with still one season to play. Consider that Frankfort’s all-time boy’s scoring leader Jacob Young scored 1,214 career points. Beeman, on the girl’s side, can potentially surpass that number by 1,000 points. Some refer to her as the GOAT (greatest of all time); a title well justified by looking at the numbers.
Fairmont Senior’s stifling defense made things rough for Beeman and the Falcons. In their 68-45 victory, the Polar Bears made Frankfort buckets tough to come by. Beeman was held to just one point in the first period and four more in the second to bring her total to five at the half. Things improved in the second half as she netted 18 more, bringing her total to 23 points for the game.
“Fairmont Senior and North Marion are the two toughest defenses I have played. Fairmont Senior is a great team and they make you feel uncomfortable the whole game,” Beeman said of the Falcons’ opponent. “I was getting some looks in the first half, but I wasn’t converting them. In the second half I did a better job of taking advantage of when I was open,” she explained.
While disappointed with the loss, Beeman, her teammates and coaches were happy to celebrate her 2,000-point career accomplishment. Beeman was very appreciative of the support extended to her by the Frankfort community.
“I am very thankful for all the support I received not only yesterday, but all season,” she proclaimed. “This achievement wouldn’t be possible without the support from my coaches, teammates, family and fans,” she continued.
As special as Beeman’s achievement was, she would be the first to admit that the importance of Saturday’s game extended way beyond her record breaking achievement. Fairmont Senior gave Frankfort a glimpse of what the competition will look like as they strive to advance to the state tournament.
The Polar Bears led 19-8 after the first period and 36-19 at the half. After three periods, Fairmont’s lead extended to 52-33 en route to their 68-45 victory. The Polar Bears were led in scoring by Stephanie Vincent and Anysa Jordan with 14 points each. Three players from Fairmont Senior also added nine points apiece (Marley Washenitz, Courtney Wilfong, Abby Faulkner).
In the loss, Frankfort was led by Beeman’s 23 points followed by Macie Miller and Makenna Douthitt with eight points each. Marie Perdew and Ashley Phillips rounded out the Falcon scoring with four and two points respectively.
Fairmont Senior also won the junior varsity game 45-31. The junior Polar Bears led only 16-12 at halftime. The game was tied at 26 points apiece heading to the fourth period but the visitors pulled away in the final frame.
Frankfort’s varsity Lady Falcons will now have some days of rest as they prepare to host Keyser on Thursday, Jan. 31. They will then travel to Northern on Saturday, Feb. 2.
While things certainly started slow for Abby Beeman on Saturday, as she’s done every game over the last four years, in the end, she delivered. While a team victory would have been nice, to the satisfaction and delight of Beeman and her legion of fans assembled, point number 2,000 - actually point number 2,001 - hit the bottom of the net.
Raw talent alone and simply wishing it to be does not create a 2,000 point scorer. So, what’s the secret? Well, according to Beeman, there certainly are no shortcuts. “I attribute hard work the most to reaching 2,000 points. When you love playing basketball, it’s easy to work hard at it.”
While there were signs, a plaque, confetti, plenty of picture opportunities and all the hoopla imaginable inside the Frankfort gymnasium to celebrate her achievement on Saturday, the celebration didn’t end there. According to Beeman, “We celebrated my accomplishment by having friends and family over at my aunt and uncle’s house last night.”
Abby Beeman, while quiet and humble, deserves all the accolades and celebration thrown her way for this major career achievement. Through hard work, practice, and the fine tuning of her craft, she’s brought joy, excitement and many reasons for the Falcon faithful to celebrate over the last four years.
It’s high time she takes a few moments to celebrate for herself.