Frankfort’s varsity boys' basketball team traveled to Rossville on Saturday in a Clinton County rivalry that found the Hot Dogs overpowering the Hornets by way of a 61-52 final.
The Hot Dogs' win against their rivals snapped a six-year losing streak to the Hornets.
For the Hot Dogs and head coach Dave McCollough, it was Frankfort’s defense that served as the spark in their 9-point win.
“I think it was started by our defense,” McCollough said. “I told the kids that I think defensively, what we did in the first half, we played the closest to the way I’d like to see us play defensively with that kind of intensity and pressure.”
The defense that McCollough spoke of started from the jump as Frankfort pressured Rossville into five turnovers in the first quarter while the Hot Dog’s Jayce Strode helped the road team jump out to a four-point win with back-to-back baskets to start the game.
Strode finished the night with 22 points on 77% shooting while pulling down seven rebounds.
Rossville looked to find their bearings in the second quarter as Luke Royer connected on a shot from distance but then went on scoreless as a team for nearly four minutes before layups by Austin Bray and Gabe Freeman helped the Hornets cut into an eventual 10-point deficit at the half.
As of late, Frankfort has begun to find their way after losing five of their first six of the season before bouncing back with five wins in six contests including a first-place finish in the Indiana Kitchen Classic.
The emergence of Jayce Strode as well as other cast members on the Hot Dogs squad as served as part of the reason for Frankfort’s resurgence.
“I think any time you play without a couple guys that are key components, that makes a difference. To get them back, that helps out but just like when people get tired or get in foul trouble, the other guys have to be ready to step up,” McCollough said.
As a team, Frankfort’s offense was too much to handle all night long as they shot 60% from the field including nearly 70% from two-point range while their defense forced Rossville into 18 turnovers.
Strode picked up where he left off to start the second half with a bucket in the paint followed by a three from Victor Cruz before Rossville’s Bray converted on the layup and the foul.
Austin Bray and Caden Wilson each led Rossville with 12 points.
Wilson gave the Hornets life towards the end of the third when he converted on a three from the wing before opening the fourth with another shot from distance but for each Rossville possession that ended in a score, Frankfort matched as the Hot Dogs controlled the paint throughout.
Frankfort’s defense limited Rossville to 35% shooting from the field in the win, but McCollough feels that throughout the Hot Dog’s recent success, their ability to keep their cool when the going gets tough has been the biggest area of growth amongst his team.
“Last night at Western Boone, they cut into us and got it down to two and we came back and played with the lead and made some plays when we needed to,” McCollough said. “That was a good thing is when we got challenged a little bit, they kept our composure and stayed with it.”
Frankfort hosts Benton Central on Friday while Rossville plays at home against Clinton Central on January 20 as well.
HOT DOGS 61, HORNETS 52
Frankfort – Doug Wood 4 0-0 8, Kirby 4 2-4 10, Perry 3 0-0 8, Cruz 2 0-0 6, Strode 10 2-3 22, Farley 3 0-0 7. 26 4-7 61.
Rossville – Matt Ford 3 0-0 6, Wilson 4 0-0 12, Royer 1 0-0 3, Bray 4 4-4 12, Freeman 1 0-2 2, Thompson 1 4-4 7, Del Real 2 0-1 6, Remaly 1 0-0 2, Gardner 2 2-2 5. 17 10-13 52.
3 point goals – Frankfort (Perry 2, Cruz 2, Farley 1), Rossville (Wilson 4, Royer 1, Thompson 1, Del Real 2). Total fouls – Frankfort 15, Rossville 12.