Halley Smith leads Lady Falcons in win over Wheeling Central

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Halley Smith (pictured) led Frankfort with 28 points in their win over Wheeling Central. Smith's teammate Larae Grove was close behind with 23 points.

SHORT GAP - Five games, five wins. Despite the sidelining of last year’s leading scorer and Area Player of the Year Marie Perdew to injury since the first half of game one, Frankfort continues to roll, most recently with a 66-47 victory over Wheeling Central on Saturday.

 It helps that Halley Smith is averaging 25.4 points per game, followed by Larae Grove with 16.4 points per game. Against Wheeling Central, Smith tallied 28 points, followed very closely by Grove with 23 points.

“They are fantastic players. Larae is a little bit underrated because nobody really noticed her last year. But, you can see improvement game after game. The girl can touch the rim, there’s not too many girls in high school around here that can touch the rim. For a guard to be able to touch the rim, she’s an athlete, and very underrated,” Frankfort coach Steve Willison stated.

According to Willison, “We’ve expected her, since Marie has been out, to take on that role of scoring. When Marie comes back, we’ll have three of those scorers, but that’s not a bad thing.”

After Smith’s 28 and Grove’s 23 points, next came Arin Lease with eight points, Lynsey Zimmerman with four points, and Emily Smith with three points.

In terms of rebounding Lease led the way with eight points, with Smith, Grove, Grace Scott and Mackenzie Long grabbing three boards apiece.

Grove dished out six assists, and Smith four. Smith added nine steals, Lease four, and Grove three. Smith and Long also had one block apiece.

In the loss, Wheeling Central was led in double figures by Lily Vogrin with 11 points, and Kiera Wilkinson with 10 points. Abbey Jones was close behind with nine points, followed by Sydney Doyle with seven points, Reagan Olejasz with four points, and Valerie Downins with three points.

“I’m happy with the win. We did back off at the end and kind of slowed things down. And of course, when you do that, the whole team slows down and it doesn’t look as good,” Willison explained.

According to Willison, “I was happy with the intensity at the beginning with our press, it was the best our press has looked. We could have kept our starters in and kept pressing, but it would have been a real ugly game,” Willison stated.

It certainly could have been ugly, and early on, it was. Frankfort’s pressure continually turned the Lady Knights over, and propelled the Lady Falcons to smooth sailing, easy buckets on offense. This was evidenced by Frankfort’s 25-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter of play. That advantage was 39-16 at halftime.

“I liked the intensity we had on the break. We think we’re faster than most teams, we really think we are. We don’t want to be one of those teams that just whip it down the court, but anytime we get the ball, we want to run to the other end as fast as we can and score. We just want to outrun teams,” Willison explained.

According to Willison, “We’re trying to get to the point that, if you’re going to play us, you better be ready because we are going to take off.”

In the second half especially, Frankfort somewhat called off the dogs, working everyone into the game and backing off of the press. Wheeling Central actually edged Frankfort in scoring in the second half 31-27, but the damage was done. In the end, Frankfort claimed the 19-point, 66-47 victory.

The Lady Falcons were also victorious in the junior varsity contest by a score of 47-14. In the entire contest, Frankfort limited Wheeling Central to just one three pointer, three field goals, and five foul shots made.

Avery Noel and Carlee Kesner led the way for the junior Falcons with 12 point each, followed closely in double figures by Lily Mills with 10 points. Lara Bittinger added eight points and Addison Pritts five points for Frankfort.