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Hot Dogs almost break skid

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MAKING A POINT: Frankfort head coach Nate VanDuyne argues a call during Friday's loss to North Montgomery.
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ON THE DRIVE: Frankfort's Cameron Williams drives to the basket during Friday's loss to North Montgomery.
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IN THE LANE: Frankfort's Caleb Henry drives into the lane during Friday's 60-47 loss to North Montgomery.
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GOING LOW: Frankfort sophomore Jade Ayers gets low to the ground as he drives the baseline during the first half of Friday's 60-47 loss to North Montgomery.
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EYES ON BALL: Frankfort's Jose Valdes Sandoval eyes the basketball while defending North Montgomery's Kade Kobel on Friday.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Frankfort looked like it might break a 15-game losing steak in boys basketball on Friday, leading 47-46 with under four minutes to play before a defensive switch by visiting North Montgomery and the Hot Dogs' late-game inexperience turned the tide for a 60-47 Charger conference win.

Still, Frankfort head coach Nate VanDuyne liked what he saw in his squad prior to that.

"We fought hard and we played hard,” he said. “I couldn't be prouder of 'em. It's been a really difficult year and for them to go out and continue to fight. This is probably the best we've fought all year long as far as intensity and even just playing the right way. We really struggle against pressure. They went to the 1-3-1 (trapping zone) and our momentum just kind of stopped.”

The Hot Dogs took a 47-44 lead with 6:31 to play on a Trey Frazier 3-pointer, his fifth of the game completing a game-high 19 points for the junior.

“I like the way that Trey is starting to assert himself more,” VanDuyne said. “Frazier was really good and he's been good. We've just got to find more consistency offensively. Trey's been good, but we still have those quarters where we don't score points and I think we scored five in the fourth.”

A back-and-forth affair, the game changed midway in the fourth when North Montgomery switched to a 1-3-1 half-court zone out of a timeout. They immediately got a turnover on Frankfort's first possession and the Hot Dogs would not score the rest of the way, missing some open looks and coughing up a few more turnovers near the end of the contest.

“Shots were there, but they just didn't fall,” VanDuyne noted. “Whether it's consistency on the Xs and Os or consistency in shot making, we've got to find consistency in both because it's been both at different times in a lot of games this year.”

The Chargers hit four straight free throws in about 15 seconds, taking a 50-47 advantage with 3:28 to play. The Hot Dogs had opportunities to keep it close, but missed some open looks and buckets by North Montgomery big man Jack Thompson on an inbounds play under the Charger basket and another easy one on a back-cut by Kade Kobel pushed the lead to 54-47 with 2:05 to play.

The Chargers iced the game with two free throws from Preston Shaw with 1:48 left and back-to-back steals and baskets by Keifer Carmean and Thompson around the one minute mark. Up until those last four minutes and that 1-3-1 zone, Frankfort fought back each time it looked like North Montgomery might pull away.

“We were rolling and we were getting stops, playing extremely hard,” VanDuyne said.

A large free-throw disparity was found in the contest, with the Chargers hitting 19 of 29 compared to 5 of 6 for the Hot Dogs. A larger than normal Frankfort crowd attended the game as winter homecoming king and queen were named prior to the varsity contest, with fans giving the officials an earful and the Hot Dogs' bench being assessed a technical in the second quarter.

VanDuyne didn't lay the foul disparity totally on the officials though.

“I'm just really proud of them, but we've just got to continue to work on defending without fouling. It was such a physical game tonight, but we've got to do a better job of moving our feet and keeping our hands off.”

Frankfort led 19-17 after the first quarter with Frazier leading the way with eight points. A Cameron Williams runner pushed the lead to four with about five minutes left in the half. On the Chargers' next possession, the tech was called after a foul call, bringing boos from the crowd. North Montgomery's Conner Cain missed both free throws for the foul, but Kobel hit both technical freebies to make it 21-19 and Shaw scored five straight points on the next two Charger possessions to seize the lead by three. Frazier hit a 3 to tie it with 3:49 left in the half and after three Charger free throws, the Hot Dogs' Caleb Henry hit two of his own to close the half with Frankfort trailing 27-26.

The Hot Dogs pushed out to a four-point advantage early in the third quarter on a Caden Stine basket and another Frazier 3, only to see North Montgomery go on an eight-point run for a 37-33 lead with 3:29 left in the quarter. Frankfort came back again with Braden Compton tying the game with a 3 about a minute later and taking the lead on a Williams 3 with 44 seconds left in the period before another Charger free throw tied it at 42 going into the fourth, where North Montgomery made their final run for the win.

Frankfort's lineup looks much different than it did back in November when it got its only win in the season's first game against Clinton Prairie, but VanDuyne says that is not just because of all the losses.

“We're playing a lot of younger guys, but it's not necessarily because of our record,” he said. “It's more so because some of those younger guys are producing some stuff. They're competing and playing well. The time they are getting is earned. So yeah, we've been very conscious of that, but by no means are we rolling over.

“We had a lot of guys (play well tonight outside of Frazier),” VanDuyne noted. “I thought Jade Ayers was unbelievable. There's not a lot in the stats, but he did so much tonight just taking things away, holding the team together. Jade did a really good job and I thought Caleb Henry had one of his better games. He created a lot of stuff for us. We're seeing progress and hopefully we continue to see it.

“I've challenged a lot of character things we've dealt with this year and you look at how united they were tonight in attacking and playing. We're making progress in a ton of areas. It's frustrating and it's hard, but we can't let the end result deter the growth that we are hoping continues in the next two weeks.”

Frankfort fell to 1-16 (0-6 Sagamore Conference) with the loss, while North Montgomery improved to 5-14 (2-4) on the season. The Hot Dogs played at Hamilton Heights on Saturday, with their next game at Carroll on Tuesday with a 7:30 p.m. tip.

At Frankfort

CHARGERS 60, HOT DOGS 47

North Montgomery – Totals 19 19-29 60.

Frankfort – Frazier 7 0-0 19, Caleb Henry 2 2-2 7, Williams 2 1-2 6, Ayers 2 2-2 6, Stine 2 0-0 4, Compton 1 0-0 3, Moore 1 0-0 2, Valdes Sandoval 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 5-6 47.

North Montgomery`17`10`15`18`--`60

Frankfort`19`7`16`5`--`47

3-point goals – North Montgomery (3), Frankfort (Frazier 5, Williams 1, Caleb Henry 1, Compton 1). Total fouls – North Montgomery 13, Frankfort 25.