Lady Falcons got the job done against battle-tested Hampshire

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Frankfort's bigs, Grace Scott (33) and Arin Lease (12), played a key role in the Lady Falcons' 56-45 victory over Hampshire on Monday night in Short Gap. With the win, Frankfort advanced to 6-0 on the season.

SHORT GAP - In the days leading up to the Frankfort/Hampshire game Monday night in Short Gap, Frankfort coach Steve Willison was telling anyone that would listen, especially the News-Tribune, that Frankfort was going to have their hands full with what he viewed as a quality, battle-tested Hampshire team.

He was right. But in the end, Willison’s still undefeated at 6-0 Lady Falcons squad did what it had to do to get the job done, topping the Lady Trojans 56-45.

“I knew Hampshire was going to give us a game, and I told everybody that. But, this turned out the way I wanted it to. I really thought Hampshire was going to come in here and play us tough, and when we go over there, it’s going to be the same thing,” Willison stated.

According to Willison, “I knew Hampshire would come in here and play to win, I really did. They haven’t played some of the weaker teams in the area, they play a good schedule. When they start playing other area teams, you watch, they’re going to win games.”

Hampshire actually grabbed the lead early, outscoring Frankfort by two points in the opening frame to take a 10-8 lead. Frankfort responded by more than doubling up Hampshire in the second stanza 15-7 to take a 23-17 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.

“I think we started slow but our press really picked us up and put us right in the game. I felt like if we hadn’t done that and just played them half-court, it would have been a much different game,” Willison stated.

After intermission, Frankfort edged the Trojans 14-12 in the third quarter to take an eight point, 37-29 lead into the final frame. In those final eight minutes, the two teams combined for 35 points, with Frankfort grabbing a 19-16 advantage and ultimately the 11-point, 56-45 victory.

According to Willison, “At halftime, I just told the girls, you just have to keep playing, because it’s going to come to you. And they started playing a lot better. I would say at the beginning of the season, like at Martinsburg, if they would have missed like that, they would have put their heads down. But, I think they’re starting to buy into what I’m telling them. You’ve got to fight to win, and not put your head down.”

To the naked eye, it seemed like Frankfort was a little off on their shooting all night, and they were. The credit for that, Willison insists, goes to Hampshire.

“It was all Hampshire. Whenever you can just sit there and set yourself up to shoot a three, you’ll shoot pretty good. But whenever someone is in your face or you have to fight to get open, you’re off balance and you’re shooting that way, it’s a lot tougher. In the second half, we did a lot better,” Willison explained.

Larae Grove led the way for Frankfort with a 19-point, three rebounds, four assists performance. Narrowly behind Grove was Halley Smith with 16 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals. Arin Lease was next with eight points, 10 rebounds and two steals.

Emily Smith and Grace Scott teamed to score six points each for Frankfort. Smith added two rebounds and one assist. Scott added six rebounds and an assist. Veronica VanMeter added one point and one rebound. Lynsey Zimmerman tallied two rebounds, one assist, and one steal. Mackenzie Long had one rebound for Frankfort.

Willison was quick to give credit to the play of his bigs, Arin Lease and Grace Scott.

“The big thing about them, if you look at it, they may have missed some shots tonight, but they don’t make big mistakes with the ball, they’re pretty consistent,” Willison stated.

According to Willison, “Arin is pretty good at scoring if you can get her the ball, with her shots from the top of the key, the top of the foul line, or that little hook she throws up. She’s pretty good at that. We’ve been trying to get her the ball, but we’ve been running mostly a guard offense so far. But, we’re trying to do more of a post-up offense for her, because she can score when you get her the ball.”

In the loss, Hampshire was led by Izzy Blomquist with a game-high 23 points. Blomquist was joined in double figures by teammate Liz Pryor with 12 points. In addition, Dani Knight added five points, Hannah Ault three points, and Kora McBride two points.

According to Willison, “She (Blomquist) is a good player, a set-up shooter. If you let her set-up, you’re in trouble. She was shooting as deep as Marie did. She shoots deep, and we had to adjust and get out on her.”

“Our press was fantastic, I don’t think we gave up really any layups out of it. I don’t think they’re used to getting pressed, that’s why I wanted to do it,” Willison stated.

Frankfort (6-0) next hosts Allegany on Wednesday, December 22.

According to Willison, “If we can beat Allegany, we’ll go to 7-0. I can’t imagine any coach in the world that wouldn’t be happy with that, especially knowing that we have another one (Marie Perdew) coming in. It’s going to be an adjustment, because, we’re playing well, and we’re going to bring someone in that’s always played well. I’m looking for a smooth transition, and I think it will be.”