GRAFTON - Last season, Frankfort saw their impressive season come to an end prematurely at the hands of the Grafton Bearcats in the sectional semi-final game. Frankfort had defeated Grafton by 18 points earlier in the season in the midst of a 10-0 start to the season. In their own 10-game stretch to open the season, Grafton was a weak 2-8.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
GRAFTON - Last season, Frankfort saw their impressive season come to an end prematurely at the hands of the Grafton Bearcats in the sectional semi-final game. Frankfort had defeated Grafton by 18 points earlier in the season in the midst of a 10-0 start to the season. In their own 10-game stretch to open the season, Grafton was a weak 2-8.
None of that, however, mattered come playoff time, as the Bearcats improved throughout the season, beating Frankfort and Keyser back to back in the sectional playoffs, then winning the regional game to advance to the state tournament. The bulk of those Frankfort and Grafton rosters from a season ago are back this year, so the memory of that sectional upset is still fresh in the minds of those Frankfort players.
As a result, Frankfort’s dramatic 49-47 overtime victory over the Bearcats in Grafton on Saturday brought with it some extra satisfaction for the Falcons.
It was truly a game that was really three separate games in one.  The first game played itself out in the first half and decidedly went Frankfort’s way. The second game played itself out in the second half and went decidedly Grafton’s way. The rubber match, the third game, played out in overtime. Thankfully for Frankfort, the third and deciding game in overtime went Frankfort’s way by a bucket, leading to the win.
In the first half. Frankfort exploded for 21 points in the first quarter, then tallied 14 points in the second to reach 35 points at the half. All the while, the Falcons limited the homestanding Bearcats to 12 points in the first and nine points in the second to take a substantial 35-21 lead at halftime.  
The second half, however, was a totally different story, as Grafton limited Frankfort to just four points in both the third and fourth quarters, all the while nearly tripling up the Falcons’ scoring with 22 points of their own.  By the time the final buzzer sounded, Grafton had come back from the 14-point halftime deficit to tie the game 43-43 at the end of regulation and force overtime.
In the overtime period, Frankfort scored the first three buckets to take a 49-43 lead.  David Blanco hit the first bucket, going up strong from under the basket to give Frankfort the 45-43 overtime lead.  Blanco would hit the second bucket of overtime in similar fashion to elevate the Falcons to a 47-43 lead. JJ Blank then went to the free throw line with 34.4 seconds remaining, hitting both shots, to give Frankfort the 49-43 lead.
Trailing by six points, Grafton would muster up only four points of the six-point deficit in the games remaining 34 seconds.  
In a game consisting of really three separate games, the Falcons won the most important one, the overtime period, to earn the 49-47 victory.
In the victory, Frankfort was led in double figures by David Blanco and Jansen Knotts with 16 points apiece, and JJ Blank with 10 points. Blank also snagged six steals and dished out five assists; Blanco pulled down eight rebounds along with Chris Kenney who pulled down six; Mason Davis contributed as well with five assists.
Frankfort was also victorious in the junior varsity game 65-58, led by Jesse Hockaday’s team-high 20-point performance. Will Toye contributed greatly in the win as well with 15 points. In the loss, Grafton was led by Justin Spiker’s game-high 23 points.
Grafton did, however, prevent a clean sweep by Frankfort by winning the freshmen game decisively 71-35.
The varsity victory elevates Frankfort’s record to 6-2 on the season in advance of games this week against sectional opponents and rivals Petersburg and Keyser. The Falcons travel to Petersburg today with the junior varsity game beginning at 6 p.m. and varsity action tipping off at 7:30 p.m.

Frankfort then hosts Keyser for a triple-header on Friday, Jan. 17. Freshman action begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by the junior varsity game at 6 p.m., then the varsity tips off at 7:30 p.m.