Girls clinch share of league title, boys lose out
The Frontenac girls scored the first six points of the second half on Tuesday night and made enough free throws to hang on for a 51-43 win over Girard.
With the win, Frontenac clinched a share of the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League with Baxter Springs. Both teams finished league play with 6-1 records; Frontenac handed Baxter its only CNC loss and Columbus defeated Frontenac.
The Raiders finished the first quarter on a 8-1 run, turning a 6-all score into a 14-7 lead after one. Ryleigh McCartney accounted for six of the eight, making a free throw line jumper and two inside baskets. McCartney scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds alone in the first quarter.
Girard pulled as close as three — 19-16 — in the second quarter but Frontenac senior Amanda Cicero gave the Raiders a 21-16 halftime lead with two free throws. The Trojans began catching up due to Frontenac committing eight of their 15 first half turnovers in the second 8 minutes.
Frontenac senior Jennifer Long and McCartney began the second half with 3s to give the Raiders 27-16 lead. Due to Haley Wilson and Cicero making six free throws down the stretch of the third, Frontenac maintained a 11-point edge, 38-27.
“I thought it was very key in the second half to be able to come out and knock down shots,” Frontenac head coach Jeremy Rakes said. “It was huge momentum for Jennifer Long to step up and shoot 3s. Between that and Ryleigh on those two possessions, I thought that was a momentum swing.”
A team like Girard almost never completely goes away quietly into the night and the Trojans made it 48-43 with 27.8 seconds left in the contest. Hope McLeod took advantage of a Cicero slip, mishandle and turnover and when McLeod took possession of the ball, it was easy layup time and she drew the foul on Cicero for a chance at an old-fashioned three-point play.
McLeod missed her free throw and Frontenac scored the final three points of the contest.
With 6:19 left in the third, after a multi-player pile-up near the Frontenac basket, Cicero emerged with a bloodied nose. Rakes turned to his assistant Scott Fields and said "The same thing," referring to when Cicero broke her nose in the win last year over Girard at Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium.
“It’s crazy,” Rakes said. “Back-to-back years. She’s a very tough kid and for her to come off and take a couple Ibuprofens, stick some tissue up there and go right back in and drive baseline into the defense, it just says wonders about what was on the line. They were all going hard tonight.”
Cicero, the unofficial Bill Laimbeer of CNC girls basketball, returned later in the quarter and finished with nine points, mostly on free throws. Her return seemed to give her entire team a lift.
Page 2 of 2 - “The girls were very excited when she came down, tugged on my shirt and said ‘Coach, I’m ready whenever you need me,’” Rakes said. “That just about gave me the biggest goosebumps ever, knowing her toughness.”
McCartney led Frontenac with 16 points, 10 rebounds and Wilson added 15, 10 on free throws. Bailey Flora added eight rebounds, helping Frontenac outrebound Girard 34-25.
The Raiders, however, committed 26 turnovers and missed 24 free throws, helping Girard stay within single-digits most of the fourth.
Hadyn Herlocker led Girard with 16 points and five rebounds.
“We had a totally different scheme with this group of girls,” Rakes said. “Last year, we went off pure speed and just up-and-down. This year, we didn’t press them once. We just sat back and played straight man-to-man. We really worked hard. We run a lot of zone but we’ve been working a lot more on man. I thought that paid dividends tonight.”
Frontenac ends its regular season 16-4, 6-1 CNC. Girard dropped to 14-6, 5-2. Substate pairings will be released today and it looks as if Frontenac earned the No. 1 seed.
Girard boys 51, Frontenac 47
Frontenac broke the ice of a scoreless boys contest the first 3:15 with a Dylan Clark bucket. That's when Girard answered with 10 straight points, including back-to-back 3-point shots by Devin Alters and Drew Davied.
Four players — two on each team, Alters and Davied for Girard, Clark and Brett Macary for Frontenac — combined for 32 of the 38 first-half points. Alters hit four trifectas en route to a first 16 minutes of 14 points. Girard led 22-16 at intermission.
Frontenac, including its rowdy student section, had no answer for Alters and the Girard gunner finished with a game-high 28 points. He made six 3s overall and multiple foul shots down the stretch to keep the Raiders at bay.
Blake Barto led Frontenac with 12 points and five rebounds. The Raiders lost out on a share of the CNC League title.
Freshman Drew Davied added 14 points for Girard.
A host of Raiders scored seven and six points apiece — Clark seven and Macary, Avery Coronado, Matt Standlee and Ross Edge six. Frontenac made seven 3s.