FRONTENAC — A wild night in the CNC saw the Frontenac High School basketball teams earn a split against St. Mary’s-Colgan on Friday.
The night started with a 67-56 win for the Lady Raiders followed by a 48-45 win for the Panthers in the boys’ game.
In between games, Frontenac took a moment to recognize the seniors on senior night.
The Frontenac seniors are Skylar Baker, Katelin Randall, Taylor Peterson, Macy Kotzman, Daniel Watts, Jake Wilbert, Broc Ginavan and Peyton Brown.
LADY RAIDERS HANG ON TO WIN
A spirited rally by the Lady Panthers in the third quarter lifted them to a 44-39 lead, but the Frontenac came alive in the fourth and out scored Colgan 28-12 in the final eight minutes of regulation to claim the win.
“At the start of the fourth quarter, I talked to my girls and they told me that they didn’t want to lose,” FHS head coach Martha Harper said. “In the past, they’ve said that and haven’t always done it. But tonight, they were rebounding well, playing tough defense and scoring in transition. Everything just came together for us tonight. This is a huge win for us.”
The Panthers overcame a six-point deficit in the third quarter on the strength of a 11-0 run which put them ahead 44-39 at the end of the third quarter.
The run was highlighted by five points from Delaney Cedeno and included four points from Cathy Farmer.
Frontenac turned the tide in the fourth quarter, out scoring the Panthers 28-11 in the final eight minutes of the contest on the strength of 10 points apiece from Peterson and Karma Fields to hang on for the win.
“I just feel like we’re struggling to put four quarters together,” SMC head coach Abby Farabi said. “We’re also playing not to lose rather than playing to win. I feel like tonight they out-worked us — especially in rebounding category — and they wanted it a little more. Hats off to them, they played hard and hit a lot of shots.”
Fields led the way for FHS in the win with a team-high 21 points.
Peterson nearly had a double-double, posting 18 points and nine assists.
For the Lady Panthers, Farmer and Randall were the top scorers with 18 and 17 points respectively.
BEYKIRCH COMES IN CLUTCH FOR PANTHERS
Bradley Beykirch’s layup through contact with 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter end up being the difference in the 48-45 win for Colgan.
Beykirch went on to hit the free throw to complete the and-one and put the Panthers up by three with 4.7 seconds remaining.
The Raiders came out of their final timeout with one more opportunity to send the game into overtime, but couldn’t hit the shot at the buzzer in the face of a strong defensive effort from the Panthers.
“Both teams made big shots near the end, but the biggest difference was Bradley Beykirch with the three-point play at the end,” SMC head coach Wayne Cichon said. “I think that broke their back right at the end. It was a tough situation, but he stepped up. Not only did he make the basket, but he made the free throw to make it a three-point game which was a big factor in the end.”
The Panthers had control of the contest in the early going, but took a three-point deficit into the locker room at halftime after being out scored 12-6 in the second quarter.
Colgan regained the lead in the opening minutes of the second half by scoring the first six points of the third quarter courtesy of Jeremiah Buche, Beykirch and Aaron Higginbotham.
Frontenac continued to stay within striking distance before tying the game at 42-all following a 3-pointer by Broc Ginavan and a layup by Blaine Baldwin at the one-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
Higginbotham nailed a 3-pointer 10 seconds later to put SMC back on top, but Jake Wilbert answered right back with one of his own to tie the game with 30 seconds remaining.
Beykirch took over from there, as he put Colgan up by three and helped the Panthers’ defense force an off balance shot for the Raiders in their final possession.
“Colgan’s two buzzer beaters at the end of the second and third quarters made a big difference,” FHS head coach Ryan Varsolona said. “We had a hand in his face both times and he hit both tough shots. That’s what good players do, they make plays. We look at everyday as a chance to get better. This game had a sub-state atmosphere and it’s a great learning experience to play in these close games.”
Higginbotham led the way offensively for SMC with 17 points, while his teammate Buche contributed 11 points in the win.
For the Raiders, Pile had he hot hand, scoring a team-high 13 points to go along with seven rebounds.
Frontenac will hit the road to take on Columbus at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Lady Panthers will be in McDonald County at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, before joining the boys’ team for a road trip to Girard at 6 p.m. on Friday.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.