The Frankfort High boys basketball team got off to a great start Wednesday against Bracken County, but the Polar Bears got to the foul line almost three times as often as the Panthers did.
Making 31 of 40 attempts from the foul line, Bracken County went on to defeat the Panthers 73-64 at F.D. Wilkinson Sports Arena.
“We just have to play smarter,” Frankfort High coach Nick Barton said. “I can’t question the kids’ efforts, but, especially in the second quarter, we weren’t smart out there.”
The Panthers hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter in taking a 22-19 lead after one, but they didn’t hit another shot from behind the arc until DeShawn Newton canned a 3 at the final buzzer.
Meanwhile, the Polar Bears scored the first 10 points of the second quarter to erase their deficit and go up by seven. Frankfort hung in with Bracken County over the next several minutes before Bracken closed out the first half with a 12-0 run, making it 45-30 at the break.
FHS was called for 12 fouls in the first half, compared to four for Bracken.
“It doesn’t matter who you play, you can’t give up 45 points in a half and expect to win,” Barton said. “We dug ourselves a hole, and we tried to climb out of it. We got on the edge a few times, but we didn’t get out of it. We didn’t roll over in the second half, so that was good to see.”
In the third quarter, the Panthers were able to control the tempo of the game and force several Bracken County turnovers. They outscored the Polar Bears by 10 points in the quarter to trail 50-45 going into the final period.
Bracken’s Jacob Hamilton converted a three-point play to start the fourth, but baskets by Jalen Washington and Travis Skelton, plus two Anthony Robinson foul shots, got FHS within two points at 53-51.
A 10-4 run gave the Polar Bears some breathing room, and they made 15 of 21 free throws in the period to seal the win.
Washington finished with 25 points to lead FHS. Robinson and Jeff Quire added 10 each.
Bracken County, which improves to 12-14 on the season, got 33 points from Austin Crawford and 20 from Nathaniel Haight. Hamilton added 13.
Crawford made more free throws than Frankfort High attempted. The freshman guard was 15 of 17 at the line. The Panthers, meanwhile, were nine of 14.
“We just have to come out ready to go for four quarters,” Barton said of his team, now 5-22. “We put in a solid two and a half quarters tonight, but it has to be four. If we can do that, we’re a tough team to beat.”
The Panthers close out the regular season at home Friday against Madison Southern. It will be senior night and homecoming for FHS.
BRACKEN CO. (73) – Austin Crawford 33, Kolton Williams 3, Nathaniel Haight 20, Brady Jones 4, Jacob Hamilton 13.
FRANKFORT (64) – Jalen Washington 25, DeShawn Newton 7, Jeff Quire 10, Anthony Robinson 10, Travis Skelton 8, Tre Winkfield 4.