Frankfort High’s girls basketball team was quicker; Sayre controlled the tempo.
In the end tempo won as the Lady Spartans defeated FHS, 40-36, Sunday in the Touchstone Energy 11th Region All “A” Classic at F.D. Wilkinson Sports Arena.
“We knew a half-court game was what they’d want it to be,” FHS coach Deron Norman said, “and that’s what we didn’t want it to be. We’re too athletic for that, but they controlled the tempo, and that’s a credit to them.”
This will be Sayre’s first trip to the Touchstone Energy All “A” Classic, which starts Wednesday at the Frankfort Convention Center.
The Lady Spartans (11-5) will play Leslie County at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“It’s overwhelming right now,” Sayre coach Scotty Sutton said. “So many years we’ve been so close, you begin to wonder if it’s ever going to happen.”
The Lady Spartans wondered right up until the final second of Sunday’s game if this would the year they’d advance out of regional play.
They hit two free throws in the final two seconds to seal the win.
“To get in is big for our three seniors, considering the circumstances of the week,” Sutton said. “To be able to hold it together like that is amazing.”
Sayre junior Jalen Byrd, a member of the boys basketball team and son of former Kentucky basketball player Leroy Byrd, was killed in a car accident Jan. 19.
The Lady Spartans had three picks for the all-tournament team, but they dedicated their picks to Byrd and didn’t announce any players to the team.
Sayre’s boys team did the same after losing to Lexington Christian 58-39 in the final, which followed the girls game. The Spartans dedicated both of their all-tournament picks to Byrd.
The Lady Spartans led 9-8 after the first quarter, and the game was tied at 17 at halftime.
Sayre opened the third quarter with five straight points and led 26-20 with 2:52 left in the period.
Those were the last points the Lady Spartans scored in the third as FHS went on an 8-0 run to close out the quarter.
Jayne Yocum hit two free throws, Jade Morgan scored on a layup after a steal and assist by BriAnna Burbridge, and Morgan and Burbridge both had layups to put the Lady Panthers up 28-26 after three quarters.
Burbridge scored on a putback to open the fourth quarter, giving Frankfort its largest lead of the game at 30-26.
The lead didn’t last long. Sayre tied the game less than a minute later and went ahead 33-30 with 2:54 remaining.
Another putback by Burbridge cut the Lady Spartans’ lead to one, but Sayre connected on four straight free throws to go ahead 37-32 with 57 seconds left in the game.
The closest Frankfort got after that was two points after Burbridge grabbed an offensive rebound and scored off a layup with two seconds left.
That made the score 38-36, and Sayre’s Sydney Strup and Gabby Bowie both hit foul shots in the final two seconds.
Burbridge had 12 points, nine rebounds and five steals for FHS. Morgan chipped in 10 points, and Sibre Morton had eight rebounds.
Bowie finished with a triple-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds and 15 blocked shots.
“Gabby’s a good player,” Norman said. “She doesn’t look to foul, and she doesn’t block shots wildly. She can make you change your shots, and she changed our shots tonight.
“We got the ball inside, but we didn’t get finishes.”
Frankfort shot 21.2 percent from the field, and Sayre shot 36.4 percent.
The Lady Spartans shot 30 free throws, making 16, while FHS was 6 for 11 from the line.
“I really felt like our defense did an excellent job,” Sutton said, “but on offense Frankfort made it so tough for us to get into any of our offensive sets because they’re so quick.”
The Lady Panthers (7-13) were the defending champions of the 11th All “A” Classic.
“They’re going to battle,” Norman said about his team. “They want to go to the state tournament every year, and they’ve got the mindset that’s what they expect to happen.
“You’re not going to get there every year, but it’s our goal to play in it (state tournament) every year.”
Named to the all-tournament team from Frankfort were Burbridge and Jayne Yocum. Also named to the team were Jordan Sandefur of Berea, Hayley Hunt of Model and Holly Huellemeier of Lexington Christian.
FRANKFORT (36) — Jade Morgan 10, Cori Cunningham 8, Jayne Yocum 4, Sibre Morton 2, BriAnna Burbridge 12.
SAYRE (40) — Hannah Brady 5, Sydney Strup 12, Gabby Bowie 14, Molly Manella 9.
LCA 58, Sayre 39
After a close first quarter, Lexington Christian took control of the boys championship game in the second quarter and cruised to the win.
The game was tied at 11 after the first quarter, but the Eagles (12-7) held Sayre (10-7) to eight points in the second quarter as they took a 33-19 lead at halftime.
LCA was up 48-33 at the end of the third quarter.
The Eagles shot 45.5 percent and held a 34-24 rebounding advantage while Sayre hit just 31 percent.
The Spartans’ Martin Durmov led all players with 17 points, and teammate Quinn Pergande had 11 points.
LCA had three players in double figures — Michael Young with 16 points, Trevor Hill with 13 and Joe Davis with 10.
Named to the all-tournament team were Jeff Quire of Frankfort High, Austin Warford of Berea, Zack Rice-Gordon of Model and Drew Trimble, Hill and Young of LCA. Young was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Lexington Christian will play Elliott County 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the first round of the Touchstone Energy All “A” Classic at the Frankfort Convention Center.