Frankfort defeats Keyser 49-40 for first win
KEYSER - It’s been over a year since Keyser and Frankfort took to the basketball court against each other in boys’ basketball, and what a year it’s been. Little did everyone know when they packed the gym in Short Gap for last March’s sectional final between the two county rivals what we are in store for.
Nobody knew that on that night they would be treated to a double-overtime thriller that will go down as one of if not the most memorable sporting contest between the two schools.
Nobody also knew that just days after that, life as we knew it would change forever; well, at least for a year.
Enter March 25, 2021, over a full year later, and with COVID having cancelled the originally first scheduled matchup between the two, we would have to wait just a little bit longer to see the Falcons and Tornado square off against each other.
Keyser entered the contest with a record of 1-2. Frankfort entered the contest with a record of 0-6. The Golden Tornado was looking to even up their record at 2-2. The Falcons were looking to score their first win of the season. What better way for both schools to accomplish those goals than against their cross-county rival?
By the time the final buzzer sounded, it would be the visiting Frankfort Falcons that accomplished what they set out to do, earning their first win by a margin of nine points (49-40).
“I thought our kids played very well. This is always a great game because it’s a country rivalry. I’ve seen weaker teams in this rivalry come out with the win, and it’s because of the battle. It’s like the Mineral Bowl twice in the regular season in basketball,” Frankfort coach Scott Slider stated.
“We played well tonight. We did a lot of the things we needed to do at the right time. Obviously, we did some wrong things too, which we try to correct every day in practice, getting ready for the next games. Overall, we were very pleased with the way the kids played,” Slider explained.
According to Keyser coach Johnny Haines, “It’s Keyser versus Frankfort, every kid and coach on the court or bench gave it their all, and the better team won.”
In the first period, Frankfort got five points from Brock Robinette and four points from Bryceten Daubenmire as the Falcons built a slim, one-point, 12-11 lead. Keyser was led by Vito Amoruso’s four points in the opening frame. With such closeness in score, the two teams picked up right where they left off a year ago in their sectional final matchup.
The second period, however, belonged almost entirely to Frankfort as the Falcons outscored the Tornado 14-4 to gain a 26-15 lead heading into the locker rooms at halftime. The Falcons employed the services of six separate scorers in building the lead. Trever Seabolt (three) and Sam Bradfield (one) accounted for Keyser’s four points.
If the second period belonged to Frankfort, the third period belonged to Keyser. The Golden Tornado outscored the Falcons 17-8 in the third stanza to cut the Frankfort lead to just two points (34-32), entering the fourth and final stanza. In that third period, Darrick Broadwater accounted for nine of Keyser’s 17 points, half of his game-high 18-point total.
With the first period being essentially a draw, the second period belonging to Frankfort, the third period belonging to Keyser, and just two points separating the two teams entering the final period, it truly was anyone’s game.
With it all on the line, it would be the visiting Falcons that dominated play in the final eight minutes, nearly doubling Keyser’s scoring output (15-8) to capture the 49-40 victory. Once Frankfort built a lead in the final minutes, they were able to keep Keyser at bay and secure the win.
“It was nerve-racking because I felt like every pass we stressed it more than we had to. We did move the ball decently in the fourth, finding the right spots to get the pass to the open guy. They fouled us a little bit and put us on the line and that helped a little bit as well. But, we were able to get the time of the clock so we could finish the ball game.
Brady Whitacre played a key role in the Falcons’ ability to maintain and secure the Frankfort lead late.
According to Slider, “He is like a student of the game. He’s a baseball player through and through, but he’s a great basketball player, he’s got a great mind. I told him after one of the earlier games this season that if things don’t work out for him with baseball he should coach basketball. There’s many times I’m getting ready to say something and he’s calling it out.”
Of Frankfort’s first six winless contests, three were against AAAA opponents, one was against a AAA opponent, and two from class AA. Slider was asked if the fact that Frankfort had played twice the games as Keyser, and that many of those games were against much larger schools, had any impact on Frankfort grabbing the win.
“I do, and part of that is because I felt our kids never lost focus when they were losing those games. You could see the disappointment in their eyes and so forth after a game when we’re talking about things that happened, but they always stayed positive and knew we were going to play better the next ball game,” Slider explained.
According to Slider, “I feel like in some way we’ve gotten better in each and every ball game.”
In the victory, Frankfort was led by Jake Clark with 12 points, followed in double figures by Bryceten Daubenmire with 10 points. In addition, Brock Robinette, Brady Whitacre and Jansen Moreland tallied seven points apiece. In addition, Bryson Lane and Peyton Slider contributed three points each.
“I think Jake is always seeing the floor well, but he started hitting some shots. Because he was struggling earlier in the season, the shots just weren’t dropping for him. He had good looks most of the time, but the mall was not going through the basket,” Slider stated.
“When the ball started going through the basket, it made it look even better, because he goes to the basket well and finds the right opening. Now the ball is going through the basket for him and it is all positive,” Slider explained.
In the loss, Keyser was led by Darrick Broadwater with a game-high 18 points. Fifteen of Broadwater’s 18 points came in the second half helping to bring Keyser back into contention. Vito Amoruso also scored in double figures with 10 points. Sam Bradfield added five points, Trevor Seabolt three points, and Alec Stanislawczyk and Lonnie Pridemore added two points apiece.
“Our kids fought till the end and have great attitudes and heart. We may not win many games, but if they continue to strive to do the best for Keyser High School, I’ll accept that any day,” Haines explained.
“It’s our job as coaches to make them understand the game better and we will continue to strive to do just that,” Haines explained.
In the junior varsity contest, Keyser won by a score of 44-24. The junior Tornado got off to a fast start and controlled the game early, propelling themselves to a 12-4 advantage at the end of the game’s first period. In the second frame, Frankfort corrected their slow start by outpacing the junior Tornado nine to six to reduce the Keyser lead to only five points (18-13) at the half.
If Keyser got off to a fast start in the first half, turns out the second half would be much faster. The junior Black and Gold started the third period on a 15-2 run to elevate their advantage to 18 points (33-15) at the 1:45 mark when Frankfort called a timeout. Frankfort scored the only point in the remaining 1:45, and the third period ended with Keyser in control 33-16.
To conclude the junior varsity contest, Keyser edged Frankfort 11-8 in scoring to give the junior Tornado a 20-point, 44-24 victory. In the victory, Keyser was led by Seth Healy with 16 points, Noah Broadwater with 11 points and Michael Schell with seven points. Kaden Urice, Edan Parks, Braydon Keller, Donovan Washington, and Ayden Costilow each scored two points apiece as well.
In the loss, the junior Falcons were led by David Holsinger with eight points, and John Anderson and Jacob Moreland had four points apiece. In addition, Noah Raines, Peyton Slider, David Jackson and Tyson Spencer each contributed two points apiece.
Keyser (1-3) next hosts Hampshire on Friday, with junior varsity action beginning at 6 p.m., followed by varsity action at 7:30 p.m.
Frankfort (1-6) next hosts Braxton County on Saturday, with junior varsity action beginning at 1 p.m., followed by varsity action at 2:30 p.m.
Frankfort and Keyser are slated to next play each other on Thursday, April 8 in Short Gap.