Facing an 18-point deficit late in the third quarter, the Frankfort Panthers could’ve gone down easily.
Not this night.
Frankfort rallied to make it a one-possession game but didn’t quite have enough, falling to Woodford County 64-60 in district play Friday night at F.D. Wilkinson Sports Arena.
“I’m proud of my kids,” said FHS coach Nick Barton, whose team lost to Woodford County 80-62 a month ago in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated. “I thought they fought hard. They got down there … and could have rolled over and died, but they continued to fight, scratch and claw. We had a chance at the end, just a call here, call there, basket goes in, doesn’t go in.”
Trailing 55-41 early in the fourth quarter, junior Jalen Washington led the comeback for the Panthers (2-12, 1-3). He scored seven straight points to make it 55-48 and later hit a 3 to close the gap to 57-54 with less than three minutes to go.
But it never got closer than four the rest of the way, as missed shots from the inside and six straight free throws from senior Eli Boggess down the stretch sealed the win for the Yellow Jackets (9-4, 3-1).
“They hit their free throws down the stretch, I give them credit for that,” Barton said.
Washington was the main reason FHS was able to get back into the game. He scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 25 points.
“He does a great job for us. He’s our quarterback, he’s our leader,” Barton said of Washington, who also had six rebounds. “He’s learning to make other people on our team better. At the beginning of the season, he struggled wanting to go 1-on-1 and try to take the game over. He did take the game over tonight, but he took it over when he needed to and incorporate some other guys.”
The game was tight throughout until Woodford County took control in the latter stages of the second quarter by going on a 17-5 run to turn an 18-14 lead into a 35-19 halftime lead.
“We just got tired,” said Barton, whose team allowed the Yellow Jackets to shoot 10 for 14 in the quarter. “We really only play five guys most of the game. The guys just got tired and I had some guys in some wrong spots matched up with the wrong people and they just knocked down some shots.”
Senior Grayson Graf and junior Michael Shelton combined to score 22 of Woodford County’s 24 points in the quarter. Graf had 12 of his 20 points in the quarter, while Shelton, who came off the bench, scored all 10 of his during that time.
“We knew (Graf) was one of the guys we had to watch out for,” Barton said. “(Shelton) kind of shocked me. He made some drives to the hole that we hadn’t scouted, hadn’t looked at.”
Also scoring in double-figures for the Yellow Jackets were Boggess with 15 and senior Samuel Souers with 13. Sophomore Anthony Robinson had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Panthers, who also got nine points from both junior Travis Skelton and sophomore Matthew Smith.
FHS hosts East Jessamine Monday at 7:30 p.m.
WOODFORD CO. (64) — Keenon Laine 6, Michael Shelton 10, Samuel Souers 13, Eli Boggess 15, Grayson Graf 20.
FRANKFORT (60) — Jalen Washington 25, Travis Skelton 9, Anthony Robinson 13, Jeff Quire 4, Matthew Smith 9.