KEYSER - They say all good things must come to end. Unfortunately for Coach Scott Slider's Falcon squad, their good thing, a 16-4 regular season, came to end sooner than they would have liked, as Frankfort fell to the Grafton Bearcats 58-46 Thursday night at home in the sectional semi-finals.
By Chapin Jewell
KEYSER - They say all good things must come to end. Unfortunately for Coach Scott Slider’s Falcon squad, their good thing, a 16-4 regular season, came to end sooner than they would have liked, as Frankfort fell to the Grafton Bearcats 58-46 Thursday night at home in the sectional semi-finals.
Frankfort had defeated Grafton on that same home court by 18 points (60-42) on Dec. 15. That game was played right smack in the middle of a ten-game stretch to open the season that saw Grafton go 2-8. The Falcons, by contrast, opened the season on a 10-game win streak.
Unfortunately for Frankfort, what happened more than two months ago had no bearing in this sectional semi-final matchup that saw Grafton hustle, play lock-down defense, and make shot after important shot to earn the win.
The tone was set very early as the Bearcats raced out to a 9-0 lead to open the game. Frankfort was able to stop the bleeding somewhat but Grafton hit shot after shot, including four three-pointers to close out the first period with a 19-9 lead. Grafton’s Jack Faulkner had the hot hand, scoring nine points in the game’s first eight minutes.
The second period was more of a defensive struggle. Grafton edged the Falcons 7-6 in the second frame, an eight-minute stretch that saw little offense from either team. The two teams entered the locker rooms at halftime with Grafton doubling up the Falcons 26-13.
At the half, Grafton’s Jack Faulkner led the Bearcats and all scorers with 12 points. Isaiah Knotts led the Falcons at intermission with five points, while Drew Mauzy had contributed four points at intermission.
While Frankfort was able to get some offense going in the third period, Grafton matched the Falcons point for point as each team scored 12 points apiece. Jansen Knotts scored nearly half of his 17 points for the Falcons in the third period with eight points. Grafton’s Jack Faulkner paced the Bearcats with six third-period points of his own. Grafton entered the fourth period maintaining an 11-point (38-27) lead over the home standing Falcons.
Frankfort was able to muster up 19 fourth-period points, but as was the trend all game, Grafton countered with 20 points of their own. Garrett Moats led the Bearcats in scoring in the final frame with nine points, while Jansen Knotts added seven points for Frankfort. Grafton never trailed in the game and maintained a double-digit lead through most of the contest.
Jack Faulkner and Garrett Moats led Grafton in double figures with 23 and 11 points, respectively. Frankfort was led by brothers Jansen and Isaiah Knotts. Jansen netted a team-high 17 points, Isaiah contributed nine points.
Frankfort coach Scott Slider had mixed post-game emotions. On one hand, the Falcons finished the season with a very impressive 16-5 record, much to be proud of. On the other hand was the disappointment of the playoff loss at home to a team the Falcons had defeated by 18 points two months ago. According to Slider, “It was a very good season, but we have to be able to win a game like last night on pure will and then regroup and get back in our routine of winning.”
While there is disappointment in Short Gap following the loss, Falcon fans, players and coaches alike will ultimately look back on this season with pride. The Falcons started the year on a 10-game win streak, defeated arch rival Keyser in dramatic fashion twice, finished the regular season with a 6-1 record against sectional opponents, earned the top spot in the sectional playoffs with their play and performed as good as any local team against Bishop Walsh.
Frankfort bids farewell to seniors Dalton Pollock, Drew Mauzy, Caleb Hare and Zack Whitacre. The Falcons will return a strong nucleus of talented players next year who can build on the successes of this year.
All good things must come to an end. While this season ended earlier than the Frankfort Falcons had hoped, they can look back at pride on a season well done.