Lady Falcons pound Hampshire 57-28, avenging earlier loss

Chapin Jewell
Special to the News Tribune
Frankfort's Larae Grove drives to the basket against two Hampshire defenders. Grove contributed 10 points in the Falcons' victory.
On Senior Night in Short Gap, the Lady Falcons honored seniors Michelle Phillips and Izzy Layton.

SHORT GAP - Talk about a turnaround. The Frankfort Lady Falcons won 10 of their first 11 games. That one blemish on their record was in game two, and on the road against Hampshire by a close score of 50-48. On Tuesday, on Senior Night in Short Gap, Frankfort would get their shot at revenge. And get revenge they did, in a big, big way.

Frankfort dominated play from the moment the ball was inbounded to start the game until the final buzzer sounded.  After 32 minutes of action, the scoreboard showed not just a Frankfort win, but a win by a very decisive margin. The Lady Falcons turned a two-point loss 32 days ago into a 57-28, 29-point pounding of the visitors from Sunrise Summit. You might say it was a tale of two games.

It was a victory made altogether sweeter not just by the revenge factor, but because it was a night in which seniors Izzy Layton and Michelle Phillips were honored on Senior Night, always a special occasion.

What explains the turnaround?

“I tell you, it was a good practice, a little chewing from the last couple of games, and they just finally committed themselves to the defensive side of the ball, everybody. We got bad news right before tip-off with Halley (Smith) not playing, and our backs were against the wall. We didn’t need anything negative to happen, but it did,” Frankfort coach Mike Miller stated.

“I’m so proud of the way they responded to the criticism that I’ve been giving them, here in the last week or two,” Miller stated.

Playing without the services of defensive specialist Halley Smith, arguably the team’s best defensive player, the Falcons collectively turned in a stellar defensive performance.

“They executed flawlessly. They helped, they did everything they needed to do, they boxed out. Halley is our defensive specialist and she prides herself on defense first, and I told the girls leading up to the tip-off that we expect everybody to be on the same page defensively, that it would take effort, commitment and dedication from all of them, and they executed flawlessly,” Miller explained.

Frankfort held a 17-8 advantage at the end of the first period and a 32-14 advantage at halftime. After three periods of play, what was an 18-point lead had grown to a 27-point lead (47-20). The final tally would show Frankfort on top by 29 points, and more than doubling up Hampshire 57-28.

Marié Perdew would again lead all-scorers with a game-high 29- point performance, with 18 of those points coming in the opening half and 10 points coming in the first period alone.  Perdew hit four three pointers, all in the first half, seven field goals, in addition to connecting on free throws.

“Marié came out and put us on her back offensively in the first half, and wow, did we ever need it. We’ve been struggling offensively a little bit, then to find out our second leading scorer isn’t going to play. We knew she was going to step up big and that’s what she did,” Miller explained.

Larae Grove added 10 points for Frankfort, Arin Lease eight points, and Michelle Phillips six points. Izzy Layton and Emily Smith rounded out the scoring with two points apiece.

“I’m tickled to death with the effort from everybody; everybody contributed today. Our seniors were great.  Michelle Phillips came in and played an unbelievable basketball game. Izzy (Layton) played a good game. Mackenzie Long came in and played very well against their big girl. It was everybody, collectively, getting it done, and I couldn’t be prouder of the way that they played,” Miller explained.

Frankfort did not allow Hampshire a single player in double figures. The Lady Trojans, however, were led by Liz Pryor with eight points, Izzy Blomquist with six points, and Gracie Fields and Hannah Ault with five points. In addition, Lainee Selan added two points and Ellen Keaton one point for Hampshire.

The victory elevated Frankfort’s record to 12-2 on the season.  Frankfort next plays at Trinity Christian School on Thursday, with junior varsity action at 6:30 p.m., followed by varsity action at 7:30 p.m.

Frankfort was also victorious in the junior varsity game, topping Hampshire by a final score of 38-36. The junior Falcons were led by Grace Scott with 13 points, followed by Madi Ruble with eight points, and Lara Bittinger and Ashlynn Crowe five points apiece. In addition, Kelsey Smith and Veronica VanMeter tallied three points each, and Alyvia Talley netted one point.

As for the varsity, with only two regular season games remaining, Miller likes that his team is starting to play their best basketball when it counts the most.

“We’ve been focusing, I told the girls it was time to put their best foot forward and start executing better, because this is when you want to be playing your best basketball. We haven’t looked good the last week and a half to two weeks, and I told them, ‘now is the time that we need to start playing,’ and for the first time in a awhile, with that game, I’ve very happy,” Miller explained.