SHORT GAP - It was a good night to be a Falcon in Short Gap on Friday night. The celebration started early for the home-standing Falcon fans with a close and exciting 33-30 freshmen victory for Frankfort over Keyser.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
SHORT GAP - It was a good night to be a Falcon in Short Gap on Friday night. The celebration started early for the home-standing Falcon fans with a close and exciting 33-30 freshmen victory for Frankfort over Keyser.  
Not to be outdone, Frankfort’s junior varsity squad delivered a dramatic overtime victory over the Golden Tornado by a score of 49-42.
Then came the icing on the cake, a comfortable 56-39 victory for Frankfort over Keyser in a game that Frankfort controlled from beginning to end.
Frankfort coach Scott Slider was obviously pleased about the performance of all three Frankfort teams on the night, “I would say it shows we are headed in the right direction with our program.  We’re getting a lot of good play from a lot of our kids. It has helped our younger kids gain confidence and really our whole program gain confidence with the wins.”
According to Slider, “I would say that at the varsity level, the three-game sweep was kind of the icing on the cake because it wasn’t a close game as we were able to control the game from the tip to the final buzzer.
“We’ve seen Keyser play a few times, have scouted them a few times and have film on them and so forth, and so we broke that down pretty well and gave our players what they needed to do to be able to keep Keyser from scoring and keep them away from the basket.  We had a pretty good game plan going in against them and our kids just executed very well,” Slider stated.  
It was indeed a varsity game that Frankfort controlled from pillar to post. The Falcons opened the first quarter on an 8-1 run and concluded the first eight minutes of play with a comfortable ten-point lead (14-4).  In that first quarter, Jansen Knotts, JJ Blank and David Blanco tallied four points apiece with Chris Kenney scoring the other two points.
In the second quarter, Keyser fought back, outscoring the Falcons 13-11 in the game’s second stanza. Six separate Tornado players scored points in the quarter (PJ Kennedy, Logan Proud, Amare Kennedy, Ryan Shoemaker, Darrick Broadwater, Shawn See).  In the second quarter, JJ Blank led the Falcons in scoring with two three-point shots.
Despite Keyser edging Frankfort in second quarter scoring, the Falcons still maintained a comfortable 25-17 lead heading into the locker rooms at halftime.
After halftime, the two teams played to an even 10-10 tie in the game’s third quarter.  Jansen Knotts managed to score all 10 points for Frankfort on three field goals and four made foul shots. For Keyser, Amare Kennedy led the way in the third frame with four of the Black and Gold’s 10 points.  Entering the fourth quarter, Frankfort maintained the same eight point lead it ended the first half with.
In the game’s final quarter, Frankfort exploded for 21 points while holding Keyser to only 12. Again, Jansen Knotts led the way for Frankfort with seven points after going seven for eight from the charity stripe; JJ Blank and Mason Davis each scored five points for the Falcons in the fourth. Ryan Shoemaker scored five of Keyser’s 12 points in the final quarter by going five for six from the foul line.
Jansen Knotts would finish as Frankfort and the game’s leading scorer with 24 points on six field goals and 12 foul shots. JJ Blank was second in scoring for the Falcons with 15 points on three three-pointers, two field goals and two foul shots. David Blanco finished just outside of double digits for Frankfort with nine points.  In addition, Mason Davis tallied five points, Chis Kenney two points and Bryceten Daubenmire one point.
“Jansen is a tremendous athlete, he’s pretty tough to try to defend, he goes to the basket well, he finishes well, and he has a pretty good jump shot as well. He’s key for us, he’s just a complete player. We use him inside for us as well, so we’ve had a lot of success with him playing multiple roles for us,” Slider explained.
Slider was quick to credit the inside play of David Blanco as well, “Part of our game plan was to have Dave effectively play against Keyser’s big man defensively and offensively. Dave’s got quick feet and we know that he can get to the basket. He was able to get around Shawn See a few times and finish. It was key for him to be able to get around him. It just depended on where he was located.  If he was away from the basket it gave Dave a little more space to get around him and get to the basket.”
In the loss for Keyser, Ryan Shoemaker led the way with nine points, with all nine points coming from Shoemaker’s nine for 12 performance from the free throw line. Shawn See was next in scoring with eight points from three field goals and two foul shots.  In addition, PJ Kennedy scored seven points, Amare Kennedy six points, and Drew Everline four points.  Finally, Logan Proud and Darrick Broadwater scored two points apiece while Jackson Biser scored one point.
“We were flat with no intensity. It was like just another game that we didn’t get off the bus. Frankfort was ready to play. They played well as a team and they controlled everything on the court,” Keyser coach John Haines Jr. explained.
While Slider was very happy with his team’s performance against rival Keyser, he’s well aware the two will meet again, if not twice more.  “Any time you play a team a second time there could be some issues that we’re not ready for. But, I’m sure we’ll see them play again at least once, maybe twice, so we might have a better idea if they are doing something different than what we’ve seen.  We’ll be prepared for that.”
According to Slider, “They may keep something in their pocket and pull it out and use it against us, that’s a possibility. I don’t think they played up to the level they can. So I feel like, we got the win this time, but they can come back the next time and basically have the same game plan going in and put 60 points on the board, they have that potential.  
Frankfort’s varsity win over the Golden Tornado gives the Falcons their fifth straight victory over cross-county rival Keyser. The victory also elevated Frankfort’s record to 8-2 on the season in advance of their Monday night matchup with Fairmont Senior at Garrett College. Frankfort will next travel to Philip Barbour on Saturday, Jan. 25 for triple-header action.  Freshmen and junior varsity action will simultaneously commence at 1 p.m., with varsity action to follow at 2:30 p.m.
With the loss, Keyser’s record drops to 5-4 on the season in advance of today’s triple-header matchup against Berkeley Springs in Keyser. Freshmen action will begin at 4:30 p.m., junior varsity action tips off at 6 p.m., and varsity action begins at 7:30 p.m.  
Unlike the varsity game in which Frankfort won comfortably, the junior varsity contest held just prior to the varsity game was a much closer, overtime contest, with Frankfort winning 49-42.  With just seconds remaining in regulation, Frankfort’s Jake Clark hit a shot from just inside the three-point line that bounced around rim a few times before falling in to tie the game at 34 and force overtime.
Keyser took an early 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and edged Frankfort again 6-4 in the second quarter to take a 15-11 lead at halftime.  In the game’s third quarter, Frankfort outscored Keyser 13-9 to tie the game at 24 -24 entering the fourth quarter.  Both teams scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including Clark’s near buzzer beater, to head to overtime tied 34-34.
In the overtime period, Frankfort nearly doubled up Keyser in scoring, using a 15-8 scoring advantage to earn the 49-42 victory.
Frankfort’s Will Toye led Frankfort and all scorers with 22 points total, with 15 of those points coming after halftime, including four points from four made foul shots in overtime. Bryceten Daubenmire and Jesse Hockaday were second in scoring for the Falcons with 10 points apiece. Daubenmire scored six of his 10 points in overtime; Hockaday spread his scoring out evenly across the game.  In addition, Jake Clark finished with seven points, including the two-point bucket that tied the game at the end of regulation and forced overtime.
In the loss for Keyser, Hunter Vanpelt, Alec Stanislawczyk, and Vito Amoruso each scored 10 points apiece for the Golden Tornado. All 10 of Vanpelt’s points were scored after halftime; Stanislawczyk scored eight of his 10 points after halftime; Amorusu scored six of his 10 points in the first half. In addition, Seth Earnest scored six points, while Trevor Seabolt and Lonnie Pridemore each scored three points apiece for Keyser.
Prior to the junior varsity contest, the night began with Frankfort’s 33-30 victory over Keyser in the freshmen game.  This follows the initial meeting between the two teams a few weeks ago, a game that ended in a 38-36 overtime victory for the Falcons.
In Friday night’s 33-30 victory for Frankfort’s freshmen, the Falcons got off to a hot start with a 15-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.  Scoring slowed considerably in the second quarter for both teams, as Keyser edged Frankfort in scoring 4-2 in the game’s second frame.  Frankfort took a 17-11 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Keyser again edged Frankfort in scoring 8-6 to inch to within four points (23-19) entering the game’s fourth quarter.  In the fourth quarter, Keyser again edged Frankfort 11-10 in the final stanza, but it was not enough to overcome Frankfort’s lead as the Falcons earned the 33-30 freshmen victory.
John Anderson led Frankfort in scoring with 11 points, nine of which came in the game’s first half.  David Holsinger and Luke Robinette were next in scoring with seven points apiece, followed by Tyson Spencer and Jacob Moreland with three points each.  Noah Raines closed out the scoring for Frankfort with two points.
In the loss, Keyser was led by Anthony Mele with a game-high 12 points.  Seth Healy was next with five points followed by Michael Schell with five points. Roman Favara, Ayden Costilow and Ethan Davis closed out the scoring for Keyser with two points apiece.
All in all, while Frankfort ruled the night with a clean sweep of three victories, two of the three games, those at the junior varsity and freshmen levels, were tightly contested. Frankfort and Keyser’s freshmen have now played two contests, one of which went into overtime, and a total of five points separates the two teams after two games. While the junior varsity have only played once thus far, that matchup produced a close overtime contest.
The varsity victory for Frankfort was a comfortable one and gives the Falcons momentum heading into the rest of the season and to the next matchup with the Golden Tornado that will take place in Keyser on Feb. 4.  As evidenced by Coach Slider’s comments, however, the Falcons are well aware that Keyser is capable of playing much better the next time around.  This one really wasn’t close, but recent history show that the next one is likely to be, don’t miss it.
At this point in the season, however, it’s advantage Frankfort.