Frankfort girls beat Petersburg in 55-53 thriller

Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
Frankfort's Izzy Layton makes her way to the basket against Petersburg on Tuesday.  Layton pulled off a double-double performance and finished second on the team in scoring with 12 points.

SHORT GAP - Since Petersburg took Frankfort to the brink in the last year’s sectional final in Short Gap, this year’s matchup has been circled on the calendar with interest from fans of both schools.  Frankfort prevailed in that 2020 game, by a slim score of 44-38, but the Lady Vikings gave the Lady Falcons everything they could handle and more.

Fast forward to March 23, 2021, the two teams met again on that same court in Short Gap. The game would play out much like the one a year ago. It was tightly contested and tremendous effort was displayed on both sides. In the end, the result would be the same, a close Frankfort victory by a score of 55-53.

“I think both teams played very hard, played very well, it was a well-played game. Hats off to them and to our girls for showing resilience, staying the course, and keeping their wits about them. We tried to give the game away, several times. I’m glad I saved all those timeouts. I get criticized by my fellow coaches for saving them all the time, but we really needed them tonight to get them calmed down and to get them to relax a little bit,” Frankfort coach Mike Miller stated.

“We knew what it was going to be like. We remember last year, the sectional championship, and we know that they didn’t lose anybody,” Miller stated. “We knew that they were coming in here gunning for us, and we were prepared for it.  We talked about it the last several days. I’m kind of glad we didn’t have any games for awhile so we could focus solely on them. It helped to be able to prepare for them with three practices.”

At the conclusion of a tight first period, Frankfort held a 13-10 edge. Marié Perdew accounted for six of the Falcons’ opening period points, Izzy Layton three points, and Larae Grove and Halley Smith each scored a field goal. Petersburg’s 10 points were relatively evenly distributed among four players.

In the second period, Izzy Layton came alive to score seven of Frankfort’s 12 points, while Petersburg countered with 14 points to narrow the gap to one point in favor of the Lady Falcons at the half (25-24). Kayla Lantz led the Lady Vikings’ second period effort with five points.

Frankfort started the third period on a 10-3 run, forcing Petersburg to call a timeout with the Lady Falcons in front eight points (35-27) at the 4:10 mark. The rest of the way, Petersburg held a slim 12-11 advantage. At the conclusion of the third frame, Frankfort had extended their lead to seven points (46-39).

By the mid-point of the fourth period, Frankfort’s seven-point lead had only shrunk to six points (49-43). Petersburg hit two quick buckets to narrow the gap to only two points (49-47) at the 3:08 mark, causing Frankfort to call a timeout. Marié Perdew then hit two quick buckets to extend the Frankfort lead back out to six points (53-47) with 2:16 remaining in the contest.

A Petersburg free throw narrowed the gap to five points (53-48) with 2:05 remaining in the game. Jenna Burgess hit a three pointer with 1:05 left in the game to narrow the gap to two points (53-51). Burgess then tied it up at 53-53 with a layup with 28 second left.  

With 28 seconds remaining in the contest, the Falcons’ Larae Grove was fouled and went to the line facing a one and one situation. Grove hit both the first and the second to elevate the homestanding Falcons to a 55-53 lead. After an exchange of possessions, Petersburg, down two, inbounded the ball with 8.3 seconds remaining. Petersburg would get off one last desperation shot as the buzzer sounded, but it missed the mark and Frankfort earned the 55-53 victory.

Frankfort was led in the victory by Marié Perdew with 23 points, and was followed by Izzy Layton with 12 points.  Layton also had a double-double. Halley Smith was next in double figures with 10 points, while Larae Grove followed with eight points. Arin Lease closed out Frankfort’s scoring with two points.

“We kind of knew that they were going to put their best on her (Marié Perdew), so we tried to get some other girls involved, and just let the game come to Marié. Izzy Layton stepped up huge, I think she had a double-double, and what a time for her to play her best career game, because it was definitely needed,” Miller added.  

“In the first half, Izzy Layton kept us where we needed to be, and Larae (Grove) stepped up big, being a sophomore, and hit two huge free throws there at the end. That showed a lot, she handled that very well.  Hats off to the team, it was a good team win.  We’re starting to find the necessary pieces that we need to do what we need to do.  We’re pretty excited about this one, but lucky to get our of here with the win,” Miller opined.

In the loss, Petersburg was led in double figures by Jenna Burgess and Kayla Lantz with 15 and 13 points respectively.  Mickala Taylor was next with eight points, Kym Minnich added seven points, and Kennedy Kaposy contributed four points.  Finally, McKenzie Kitzmiller, Carley Turner and Braylee Corbin netted two points each.

In the junior varsity contest preceding the main event, Petersburg scored a 49-29 win. In the first period, Frankfort overcame deficits of 4-0 and 6-3 to rally and take a 10-8 advantage at the end of the game’s opening frame. Petersburg opened the second period on a 7-0 run and ultimately outscored  the junior Falcons 17-4 in the third stanza to take a 25-14 advantage into halftime.

That momentum carried with the junior Vikings into the third frame where they outpaced Frankfort 13-6 to take a 38-20 advantage at the end of the third period. Petersburg edged Frankfort 11-9 in scoring in the fourth to earn the 20-point, 49-29 victory.

The junior Vikings were led in double figures by Abby Alt and Braylee Corbin with 12 points apiece  Nellie Whetzel added nine points, Jaily Cook eight points, and Sam Colaw with four points.  In addition, Kennedy Kaposy and Emma Berg tallied two points apiece.  

In the loss, the junior Falcons were led by Lara Bittinger with six points, followed by Chloe Kauffman, Veronica VanMeter, and Grace Scott with five points apiece. In addition, Madi Ruble contributed four points, Kelsey Smith three points, and Alyvia Talley one point.   

The Frankfort varsity (7-1), next travel to Robert C. Byrd for a Wednesday contest. The Lady Falcons then host Keyser on Friday.

“It’s still Keyser. Even though we’re not playing them in the sectionals anymore, it’s still Keyser, our county rival. We’ll make sure the girls are fired up and excited about that, which there’s no need to discuss it, they should be fired up. They gave us all we could handle at their place, and we’re looking to play a little bit better than we played there,” Miller explained.