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Short-handed Hot Dogs fall to Red Devils at home

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UP THE COURT: Frankfort’s Rylee Seibert led the Hot Dogs with 12 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday’s loss to West Lafayette.
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UNDER PRESSURE: Frankfort’s Lindsey Gay, who started after another player missed Tuesday’s game, deals with pressure from a West Layafette defender in the second half of a 63-37 loss.
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EYEING THE BASKET: Frankfort’s Kya King, right, looks to score during Tuesday’s game as West Lafayette’s Alaina Omonode defends the basket.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

An already short-handed Frankfort girls’ basketball squad played visiting West Lafayette with even fewer proven players on Tuesday night, and it showed in a 63-37 loss.

“Lindsey Gay stepped in on short notice, and I thought she played really well,” Frankfort head coach Joe Marsh said. “Defensively, she did everything we asked her to do, and she even had some good sets offensively. She just didn’t get the ball to go into the hole for her.

“But I was happy with her effort, kind of coming in from a sub to a starter and the pressure that goes with that,” he added.

Starting point guard Liz Cruz Sandoval told Marsh after practice Monday that she would have to miss the game for personal reasons. The Hot Dogs were already down a player going into the season with senior Nallely Alanis recovering from an injury she suffered during the soccer season.

“We’re still waiting for Nallely to get cleared, so missing a key piece of the team was rough, and I think offensively we were hoping to get some shots to fall because we knew that they were going to bring pressure defensively. We just weren’t able to get anything going for us,” Marsh said. “I asked the starters to play almost everything and that’s a lot to ask.

“They played their hearts out and offensively we just couldn’t get anything to go our way to relieve some of that pressure when we’re working our tails off defensively.”

The Red Devils jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the first quarter only to see Frankfort cut it to 11-8 off two buckets and two free throws by senior Rylee Seibert. Two free throws by West Lafayette’s Alaina Omonode closed the quarter at 13-8.

The Hot Dogs couldn’t sustain that momentum as West Lafayette pushed the lead to 26-10 on their way to a 30-16 halftime advantage, as Frankfort struggled with the Red Devils’ press and notched 20 turnovers for the game. Marsh agreed that missing Sandoval hurt the Hot Dogs in dealing with West Lafayette’s defensive pressure.

“She’s one of our best (ballhandlers), so without being able to have her bring the ball up the floor (it’s more difficult),” he said. “We asked Emily Michael and Lindsey to be more guard-oriented when they’re normally not. So yeah, it put people in different positions. Rylee Seibert had to bring the ball up the floor a little bit against their pressure.”

Omonode gave Frankfort fits throughout the contest, scoring a game-high 19 on 7-of-12 shooting with six rebounds.

“She has some great touch around the basket, and she just got OK’d to play,” Marsh said. “So when we scouted them and kind of looked at them, I didn’t realize she was OK to play. I thought that we were just going to have 34 (senior Ashley Weatherly) to deal with. They know what they’re going to be good at and they fed her the ball and she took it to us.”

The Hot Dogs limited Weatherly to 7 points, although she did post a game high nine rebounds. Omonode received scoring support from senior guard Caroline Sautter with 13.

Seibert led Frankfort with 12 points and eight rebounds, with 10 of her points coming in the first half.

“You could see that she was running out of a gas and needing a breather,” Marsh said. “You could see with that last timeout I was just yanking ‘em, trying to use (timeouts) just to give them a breather.

“I told them at halftime, ‘I don’t know if you’re going to come out,’” he noted. “I just didn’t think our subs are ready yet. I think they are getting there, but I wanted to rely heavily on those four seniors and Lindsey to kind of play as much as possible.”

One player who got an opportunity with the absence of Sandoval and Alanis was sophomore Jessenia Ramos, who splits time on the junior varsity. She scored her first varsity points with a bucket and added a rebound and assist in 6 minutes of playing time.

“We talked this morning at school and I told her ‘you’re going to get three quarters tonight with us and I’m going to ask you just to play,’ and we did a quick little review today in the office and I thought she played hard,” Marsh said. “She deserves to be up with us on the varsity. She plays her tail off, so I was happy with her.”

Kimee Kingma had 8 points with five rebounds and an assist.

“I couldn’t be happier with Rylee and Kimee and Emily (Michael) and Kya (King) and just doing everything they could to keep us in the game and playing for basically every minute of the game,” Marsh said, with each starter playing most of the minutes until the bench was emptied with just under three minutes to play.

Gay played all 32 minutes, scoring 6 points with three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Michael had 7 points with a rebound and an assist, while King scored 2 points with four rebounds, an assist and a steal. Seibert had two assists and two steals to go with her team-highs in points and rebounds, and Sydney Cesare had a rebound in limited playing time.

The Hot Dogs next visit Western at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with Marsh seeing positives in the additional playing time for his bench players.

“It’s a learning experience, putting people in different spots and trying to see what they’re bringing to the table,” he said. “... I think we’ve got too many varsity games to be making those mistakes (turnovers) and so we’re going to hold them accountable and we’re going to adjust for that going into Friday because we’re going to see an up-tempo, pressure defense with Western and so this was a good kind of learning experience for the week going into Friday.”