By Phil Friend
FRANKFORT — For the third consecutive game, the Frankfort Hot Dogs boys’ basketball team found its groove in the second half.
Friday night’s victim was Danville, as the Hot Dogs scored 48 points in the final 16 minutes to outlast the Warriors, 73-64, in a Sagamore Athletic Conference game.
Coming into the game, Danville was only allowing 49.0 points per game. The 73 points scored by Frankfort were a season-high for a Warriors opponent.
“They beat us on some tough stuff – rebounding and getting to the bucket. Things that we were doing in the first half, we didn’t do on the defensive end in the second half,” Danville coach Brian Barber said. “They got several offensive rebounds, just tough stuff that isn’t the glamour stuff but they beat us to it (Friday).
“I don’t think it was anything offensively in the second half. You give up (48) points … we just didn’t step up and get the job done.”
In the previous two second halves, Frankfort (12-4, 3-1 SAC) scored 40 against Crawfordsville and 42 against West Lafayette – both victories.
“We go in (at halftime), we refocus and we know where we’ve made our mistakes. We’ve been able to make adjustments and the kids respond to those,” Frankfort coach Tom Weeks said.
A majority of Frankfort’s 16 made baskets in the second half came inside the paint. The Hot Dogs also got to the free-throw line 21 times, converting 16 of those.
“We were 0 of 6 first half from three,” Weeks said. “You talk about smash-mouth football, we’re smash-mouth basketball. We couldn’t get over the hump in the first half because we were hurting ourselves, fouling and putting them on the line instead of rebounding the basketball.”
Friday night’s scoring came in part to the Hot Dogs’ ability to break Danville’s zone. The Warriors’ 2-3 zone stifled Frankfort for the first half, forcing seven turnovers and 8 of 25 shooting from the field (3 of 15 in the first quarter).
But the Hot Dogs slowly chipped away at it in the third quarter, busting out for 24 points — eight from Brody Kirby and seven each from Christian Smith and Dakota Isgrigg. By the time the fourth quarter got going, Danville switched to man-to-man and Kirby, Isaac Rudd, Smith and Nathan Wissman seemingly drove to the basket at will, creating opportunities for themselves and Isgrigg.
Frankfort was 16 of 30 shooting in the second half.
“They were looking for us to settle for threes and coach got on us in the locker room,” Kirby said. “We really looked to get it inside with a drive from one of the guards or get it in the post to Dakota (Isgrigg).”
Rudd nailed a long jumper to give Frankfort a 58-56 advantage with 4:09 left – the Hot Dogs’ first since 2-0 – and never gave up the lead. That jumper was part of a 17-4 Hot Dog run.
“When (Danville) did miss, we got the rebound and were able to turn the tide,” Weeks said. “Once that happened, they took (poor shots) and not great shots. Now they’re having trouble shooting and we’re controlling tempo.”
Lost in the shuffle was the individual performance of Danville senior Ian Asher, who led all scorers with 31 points on 13 of 24 shooting. Asher scored 24 of those in the third quarter (13 in the third) to keep the Warriors out in front. But instead of getting down mentally, the Hot Dogs kept pushing the ball up the floor.
“He’s a great player, obviously. We just kept trying to ‘D’ up on him and hope he misses the tough shots. But unfortunately, he hit an awful lot of them,” Kirby said.
Frankfort also took advantage of the foul situation, as Danville was whistled for 29 fouls to the Hot Dogs’ 14. Frankfort hit 15 of its 21 free throws in the second half.
Barber didn’t seem discouraged by the foul discrepancy.
“We’re playing a lot of guys, but any time you’re on the road you’re not going to get the breaks,” he said. “We’ve got to clean up some things. We let them drive or get the ball into the post too much. That’s a bad combination.”
Isgrigg led Frankfort with 21 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Smith tallied a double-double himself with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Rudd and Kirby were also in double figures with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Scott Amor and Avery Motes were also in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Danville used its quickness and athleticism to jump out to a 30-21 lead late in the first half on an Amor 3-pointer. But back-to-back baskets by Isgrigg and Rudd got the score to 30-25 before the break, setting up a wild third quarter.
The teams combined for 43 points in the period, with Frankfort getting the score down to one possession four times before tying it at 42 on a Smith 3-pointer.
Danville responded with a 7-0 run, getting an Asher 3-pointer, two Amor free throws and a bucket from B’ster Detty for a 49-42 lead. But Frankfort came right back with a 7-0 run to close the quarter, with a Rudd bucket and five straight points from Isgrigg.
“That’s probably the most physical ball game we’ve been in,” Weeks said. “We came out and played strong in the second half. I was impressed with how strong and physical we played but within the realm and kept our mental side.”