SHORT GAP - Finally, after nine tries, the monkey is finally off the back of the Frankfort Falcons basketball squad. After eight straight losses to start the season, a few of them close and winnable, finally, on Thursday night, it all came together in Short Gap against Moorefield as the Falcons gained separation late against the Yellow Jackets to earn the 63-49 victory.
While there have been a few rough games along the way, in terms of the final score, there have also been some close ones, none closer, in fact, than a one point 60-59 loss to Keyser. Frankfort had been knocking on the door, finally the door opened.
It was a complete team victory, and happened on what was a special night for a few reasons. How does it feel?
According to Frankfort coach Scott Slider, “It feels great. I think it’s huge for them. I put the question up on the board before we started tonight, ‘are we tired of losing yet?’ I didn’t get wound up in the pre-game, I just addressed everything I felt needed addressed, and we went out and did what we needed to do to get the win tonight.”
The key to victory was solid defense and the positive offensive spark said defense provided.
“I think we played pretty solid defense. There were some things we could have done better, but, overall, how we played together as a defensive unit led to some positive things on offense as well. We were finding guys in the right spots and then putting the ball in the hole,” Slider explained.
It was a very close game through the first three quarters, very close. At the conclusion of the games first three quarters, Frankfort clung to a close, three-point, 16-13 lead. The tables turned slightly in the second quarter as Moorefield outscored the Falcons 17-12 to gain a two-point, 30-28 advantage heading into the locker room at the half.
Things couldn’t have stayed any closer in the third quarter as the teams ended the third frame deadlocked at 39 points apiece. Then came the fourth quarter explosion for the Falcons as the Columbia Blue and Silver-clad lads put up 24 points to only 10 for Moorefield. The end result, a 63-49 victory for the Falcons.
The fourth quarter charge was led by Tyson Spencer who scored nine points in the final frame alone. Bryson Lane and Cameron Lynch also came up big for the Falcons late, with Lane notching six points in the final frame and Lynch five points.
What drove the late charge that earned the Falcon victory?
“I think at the end we realized how close we were to winning. We’ve been in that situation on the other end, we’ve made a run at a team late like at South Harrison, but today we were on the other end of that. We knew what we had to do to continue that lead. It was our defense, and being unselfish on offense that gave us the buckets at the end to keep that lead.”
There were two side stories of great significance in the Falcon win, both involving members of Frankfort’s senior class, Peyton Slider and Bryson Lane. For Peyton, who went down with what appeared to be a very serious injury a week ago, there was his return to his home court, after playing also against South Harrison on the road on Saturday. Having Slider back in the lineup served as a rallying point for the Falcons.
“Peyton is our point guard and the guy that is supposed to lead things on offense for us. Having him out there on the court, who is probably also our best on-ball defender, having that other key guy out there on the court was huge. Having him back is a big key and the kids were happy to have him back, they rallied around him when he came back to practice the other night,” Scott Slider, Peyton’s dad and coach stated.
Then there was the issue of Bryson Lane, whose family tragically lost their home to a fire just two nights ago. It was important for Bryson to get back on the court. It was also important to the Frankfort community to see him out there, doing what he loves, and also giving them a chance to further show he and his family support.
Bryson did it up big, triumphantly returning to the court after the tragedy with a team-high 15 points off six field goals and one three-pointer.
“It’s obviously tragic what happened, but sometimes through tragedy, good things come. He played a little slower tonight, he played within himself. He did a lot of the things that we’ve been wanting him to do all season long. There were times that he just tried to do too much, but tonight, he just let the game come to him,” Slider explained.
According to Slider, “As a result, he was able to capitalize, getting baskets at the right time, getting the ball at the right time, he just played very solid. His defense was good and it led to good offense for him.”
Lane did indeed lead Frankfort with 15 points. Also scoring in double figures overall for the Falcons was Luke Robinette with 12 points, and Tyson Spencer with 10 points. In addition, Cam Layton tallied eight points, David Jackson and Cam Lynch seven points apiece, and Peyton Slider four points.
In the loss, Moorefield was led by Coleman Mongold with a game-high 20 points, followed in double figures by Ronny Greist with 14 points. In addition, Levi Thompson added eight points, Dean Keplinger three points, and Ryan McGregor and Karson Reed two points apiece.
Moorefield was victorious in the junior varsity contest 42-28 over Frankfort. Adam Landes and Guyan Kahangirwe led the way for the junior Jackets with 12 and 11 points respectively. In the loss the junior Falcons were led by Tyrique Powell with nine points.
As for Frankfort’s varsity victory, the hope is that it packs a mighty punch with respect to momentum moving forward.
“That is the hope. We’ve got some tough games coming up, but, if we play like we did tonight, we can compete with those teams,” Slider stated.
Next up for Frankfort is a game scheduled at Clay County on Monday, though the weather forecast may have other plans for the two teams.
This article originally appeared on Mineral Daily News-Tribune: The door opens: Frankfort gets first win of the season