FRONTENAC — While the Frontenac Raider Girls may have lost their opening round contest in the Kansas Army National Guard Invitational, it was not from a lack of effort. Playing severely short-handed, Frontenac fell to the Nevada Tigers 51-50, after mounting a furious rally in the last minute. Gwen Smalley and Kaylee Harper led the Raiders, each finishing the night with double-doubles.
Frontenac was forced into starting a young lineup in their matchup with the Nevada Tigers and would only play six girls in the game. Due to violations of team rules, three Raider starters were given a one-game suspension.
Taylor Peterson, a sophomore proved a deft passer, setting up and finding teammates for open shots. Madison Davis, a freshman, got to work offensively by repeatedly attacking the heart of Nevada’s pressure defense and drawing fouls.
Regular starter Kaylee Harper was a force on the offensive boards, pulling down three midway through the first quarter. The hard work and extra possessions for the Raiders was not translating into points, however, as they were missing some shots close to the rim. After one, Nevada was up 13-10.
The Tigers settled for long jump shots in the second quarter and were not hitting them. They were dominating the Raiders on the glass, however, getting numerous second chances and drawing Frontenac into foul trouble, something they could not afford with such a short bench. With just over five minutes to go in the half, Nevada kept their small lead.
Frontenac was able to tie the game up at 20-all with three minutes to go in the quarter, thanks mostly to the tenacity shown by the Lady Raiders, notably by sophomore Macy Kotzman, who grabbed a rebound, lost the ball, stole it back, and then in a scramble for a loose ball, saved it by calling a timeout for her team to save the possession. Going into halftime, Frontenac was down just 27-25.
Nevada began hitting three-pointers in the third quarter and jumped out to a 7-point lead, 41-34 with just over three minutes in the quarter. The inexperience of the Raiders started to show itself in the third, as Frontenac started making some unforced errors. Yet, they never quit battling, and it was Gwen Smalley who would not let them. Smalley came alive in the third, gathering four offensive rebounds and getting fouled on her drives to the basket. She knocked down her free throws and Frontenac ended the quarter on a 4-0 run to cut their deficit heading into the fourth quarter to 41-38.
The Raiders scored the first three points of the fourth to tie the game. The burst of energy was short-lived, as Nevada started running a version of the stall game and slowing the game down. The Tigers would push their lead back up six points, 50-44, with just over one minute to go. A technical foul called on Frontenac coach, Jeremy Rakes, seemed to be the final blow for the young Raider team.
It was not. Taylor Peterson came alive from behind the arc in the final minute and the pressure defense by Frontenac frustrated the Tigers into crucial turnovers. But, another call by the referees called off a made three pointer by Peterson because of a travel. The Raiders who did play in this game left everything they had on the floor, but it just was not enough, falling to Nevada 51-50.
Gwen Smalley ended the night with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Kaylee Harper had 13 points 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Madison Davis had 9 points. Taylor Peterson finished with 9 points and 4 assists. Kamryn Osborn added 5 points, and Macy Kotzman led defensively with 4 steals.
After the hard-fought loss to Nevada, Coach Jeremy Rakes could not be prouder of his team’s effort on the evening. “This was an unbelievable effort by the girls. I am so so proud of the six girls who played their hearts out tonight and gave me everything they had. I feel terrible about the situation [the technical late in the fourth quarter], but this is one of my proudest moments as a coach.”
Panthers hand Raider boys home less in first round
The Frontenac Raiders fell late to the Wichita Independent Panthers in the Kansas Army National Guard Invitational Thursday night, 50-44.
A tight game was broken open by the Panthers in the third quarter, and a late push by the Raiders was not enough as Frontenac couldn't overtake the Panthers.
The 3-point shooting ability of Wichita Independent proved to be the difference as the Panthers hit seven on the evening.
The Raiders were led by Ryan Menghini and Christian Owens, who each scored 12 points, and Broc Ginavan, who chipped in eight points.
The Raiders tried to attack the height of the Panthers early in the contest by getting to the rim. Ginavan was successful in his efforts in the paint, as he scored on two early possessions to get the Frontenac offense going. However, Wichita Independent was able to stop any chance of momentum shifting to the Raiders early by burying a 3-pointer, as they did all evening long. A 3-ball by the Panthers put them up 15-10 with under 10 seconds to go, but Ryan Menghini was able to hit a layup just before the buzzer to send the game into the second quarter with the Raiders down only two.
Frontenac was sharing the ball well in the first half, which paid off nicely. The unselfish Raiders passed up open looks from the perimeter to find better shots down low, and athletic plays like Ginavan’s scoop and the foul with just over four minutes to go in the second kept Frontenac in the game.
A fourth triple by the Panthers put them back on top, but Christian Owens matched with his own shot from long distance. The second quarter was tight and hard fought, so it was fitting that the two teams went into halftime tied at 24-all.
The athleticism and the shooting ability of Wichita Independent allowed them to come of the locker room and step on the gas early in the third quarter.
A 7-0 run by the Panthers forced a Frontenac timeout to settle down and slow momentum. Eian Monsour scored for the Raiders to end the Panther run and start a mini-Frontenac run to climb back into the game.
Owens hit another 3-pointer to cut the Panther lead to 33-30 with just over two minutes to go, but Wichita Independent would end the quarter with a 7-2 run to give themselves an eight-point lead, 40-32, heading into the fourth.
The Panthers had stretched their lead to 10 points, but Ryan Long hit a 3-pointer for Frontenac to swing momentum back to the Raiders. Wichita Independent took the air out of the ball by slowing the game down and possessing the ball for quite some time. The Raiders started pressuring which led to foul calls against FHS.
Frontenac found themselves down nine with just over three minutes to go.
Besides the need to foul to lengthen the game, the Raiders were shooting themselves in the foot by committing turnovers on four straight possessions late in the game, all but assuring a Wichita Independent victory.
Frontenac played until the final buzzer, cutting the Panther lead to 48-44, but it wasn't enough for the Raiders to overcome defeat.