SHORT GAP - As said before in this paper, no matter if it's a game of tic-tac-toe, tiddlywinks, or in this case high school basketball, you are sure to find effort and entertainment is a matchup between Frankfort and Keyser.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - As said before in this paper, no matter if it’s a game of tic-tac-toe, tiddlywinks, or in this case high school basketball, you are sure to find effort and entertainment is a matchup between Frankfort and Keyser.
This was merely a regular season game, and with the possibility of a meaningful playoff matchup potentially looming, at the varsity level, pride was the only thing really at stake.
Playing with pride, however, is exactly what both teams did in turning in quality, thrilling performances in a game that went down to the wire. Through the first two quarters, Frankfort maintained leads of 14-11 at the end of the first and 27-21 at halftime.
After intermission, Keyser would claw back to tie the game at 38 points apiece at the end of the third period. The fourth period would see both teams score 13 points apiece and regulation would end with things all tied up at 51-51. There was a chance with three seconds remaining for Keyser to take the lead at the free throw line, but the Golden Tornado was called for a lane violation that ended that opportunity.
In the overtime period, points were hard to come by. After Frankfort’s Jansen Knotts hit a field goal and Keyser’s Shawn See nailed a free throw, the Falcons clung to a narrow 53-52 lead. With 1:57 remaining in the extra period, Frankfort’s Dave Blanco sunk two free throws to extend the Frankfort lead to 55-52.
With 1:23 remaining, See hit a close shot to pull Keyser to within one point (55-54). With Frankfort mostly attempting to run the clock out, Zack Whitacre was fouled and sent to the line with 17.5 seconds remaining. Whitacre hit the first of two shots to give Frankfort the final 56-54 advantage. A three-point attempt by Keyser to win the game with 2.6 seconds remaining fell short.
Zack Whitacre was again fouled and sent to the line with 1.1 second remaining. Whitacre missed the foul shot but time expired as the ball bounced off the rim and the Falcons secured the 56-54 victory.
After two games, Frankfort and Keyser are now separated by a combined three points with Frankfort winning the first matchup on Dec. 21 48-47, and this most recent game on Feb. 22 56-54.
Jansen Knotts led Frankfort and all scorers with 15 points, four assists, three rebounds and one blocked shot. Zack Whitacre was next for the Falcons with 11 points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals. Drew Mauzy added seven points, JJ Blank six, Caleb Hare five, and Dave Blanco and Dalton Pollock four points each. Isaiah Knotts with three points and Jon Ritchie with one closed out the scoring for Frankfort.
The Golden Tornado was led by Ryan Shoemaker’s 14 points, followed closely by Shawn See with 13. In addition, Brady Clay contributed eight points, Reggie Redman added seven points, and PJ Kennedy six. Jack White’s five points and Jacob Biser’s one rounded out Keyser’s scoring.
The win closed Frankfort’s regular season out with an outstanding record of 16-4. Keyser followed with a loss to Bishop Walsh on Saturday to close out their regular season at an even 11-11. Frankfort is the top seed and Keyser is seeded second in the sectional tournament.
Perhaps the biggest story of the night was Keyser’s junior varsity thwarting the Frankfort JV’s plans for an undefeated season with a convincing 36-13 victory over the previously undefeated Falcons. Frankfort’s JV’s entered the game 19-0 but had problems generating offense against Keyser’s stifling defense, scoring only six points through the first three quarters.
Keyser led 8-2 at the end of the first period and 17-4 at the half. After the third period, the Keyser lead extended to 30-6, and things finished up with Keyser winning 36-13.
Nine different Tornado players scored points in the victory with Darius Redman and Latrell Brooks leading the way with eight and six points respectively. In the loss for Frankfort, Bryceten Daubenmire had six points, Jake Clark five, and Brady Whitacre two.
At the varsity level, Frankfort and Keyser both begin sectional playoff play with first round byes. Second seed Keyser will play the winner of the first round Petersburg/Philip Barbour matchup at Keyser on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Top-seed Frankfort awaits the Berkeley Springs/Grafton winner at Frankfort on Thursday at 7.
The first two Frankfort/Keyser matchups have been thrillers. Should a third game arise if the two meet in the sectional finals on Saturday, expect another thriller.