Tuesday night was the Frankfort High boys basketball team’s worst nightmare.
Squaring off against Franklin County in the first round of the 41st District Tournament at the Frankfort Convention Center, FHS needed Zach Perry and Jalen Oliver to hit their shots and had to get Aaron Jackson going early to hold its own against the Flyers.
Instead, Oliver and Perry combined for eight total points and Jackson fouled out in the third quarter.
FCHS cruised to an easy victory as a result, winning 82-52.
Jackson was in foul trouble early, spending much of the first half on the bench. FHS coach Matthew Yates said Jackson’s absence dramatically altered his team’s game plan.
“In the first half, we were affected tremendously,” he said. “The first time we played County he was in foul trouble but we had some people step up. Jalen Oliver had 31 that game and Zach Perry hit shots.
“The shots weren’t falling for those guys tonight and it made it really tough on us,” Yates added.
Jackson’s absence helped the Flyers finish the game with a 45-28 rebounding advantage, but even when Jackson was in the game, FCHS coach Scott Chalk said his players did a good job containing him.
“We did a nice job with Chris (Roberts) and Garrett (Hamilton) trying to keep Jackson from getting started on the backboard,” he said. “He gets so many points on second chance shots so we had to neutralize that.”
Things turned ugly early on Tuesday as FCHS held an 18-7 lead after the first quarter and had increased its lead to 36-20 at halftime.
Ryan Timmons, who finished with a game-high 25 points, and Garrett Hamilton – who was next with 18 points – both had nine points at the half. Jalen Washington, who finished with 22, had 13 at the half for FHS.
“What a freshman. He’s tough and comes to play every night,” Yates said of Washington. “He does whatever the team needs him to do to find a way to win. He tried to do that tonight but we didn’t have enough firepower.”
Yates wasn’t joking – behind Washington, the second-most points for FHS came from De’Ante Floyd.
He finished the game with seven points.
Chalk said the key to taking away FHS’ firepower was pressure from Eric Meyer and Casey Tabor.
“Eric Meyer and Casey Tabor did a great job taking away Oliver and Perry,” he said. “Last time we played them those guys got loose and hit a bunch of threes. We wanted to play them even and did a great job of that tonight, especially in the first half.”
Coming into the game, Yates said he wanted his team to concentrate on defense in case their shots weren’t falling. As the 59-37 FCHS lead at the end of the third proved, FHS fell short of its goal.
“We didn’t play defense very well,” Yates said. “Guys didn’t even have to make a move to get around us. They’d just go one way and we’d get out of the way.”
Besides Timmons – who Chalk said played exactly the way he was expected to play – FHS had a hard time stopping Hamilton, who grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
“He really is getting his legs back,” Chalk said. “He’s playing more forward since Logan is out and he’s doing a good job down there. I thought him and Chris dominated inside.”
FCHS plays the winner of tonight’s match-up between Western Hills and Woodford County Friday.
FRANKLIN COUNTY (82) – Ryan Timmons 25, Garrett Hamilton 18, Eric Meyer 12, Casey Tabor 8, Chris Roberts 6, Rylan Rowe 6, Conner Meyer 3, Lorenzo McCaskell 2, Jimmy Harrod 2.
FRANKFORT (52) – Jalen Washington 22, De’Ante Floyd 7, Aaron Jackson 6, Jalen Oliver 5, Zach Perry 3, Anthony Robinson 3, Matthew Smith 2, Teantre McGee 2, Tim Davis 2.