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Way to go, Frankfort!

By Walt Braun

They might not always do things the easy way in Frankfort, but it’s hard to argue with their path to the 1A-Division II state basketball championship.

The Wildcats, the No. 3 seed, needed two overtime periods to overcome Otis-Bison, 62-53, in the championship game in Hays. To even qualify for the state tournament, Frankfort had to play an extra period. That, too, was well worth it, as the Wildcats beat Baileyville B&B. In between, Frankfort, which finished the season 22-5, knocked off Colony Crest, 74-60, in the first round at state, and beat Fowler, 50-39, in the semifinals. All the wins were savory, but none was as sweet — or hard-earned — as the victory in the championship game. In was the Frankfort boys’ first state title since 1973.

As was the case for most of the season for Frankfort Coach Brian Ebert, seniors Jacob Broxterman and Jonathan Keating led the way. Broxterman, in fact, led all scorers at the 1A-Division II tournament with 62 points for an average of just over 20 points a game. Keating was the tournament’s fourth leading scorer with 44 points – almost 15 a game, and another Wildcat, Calahan Brown, also averaged double figures for the tournament at almost 11 points a game.

As a story in Sunday’s Mercury noted, the last time the Wildcats were this close to a state championship, in 2004, they fell in overtime without scoring a single point in the extra period. This time, the score was tied after the first overtime, with each team scoring just four points. Early in Saturday’s second overtime, the Wildcats’ leading scorer fouled out. No matter, his teammates dominated, outscoring Otis-Bison 14-5 to claim the title. Other key contributions came from Lucas Adams, who scored 12 points, Alex Surdez, who added five points, and Brett Kenworthy, who chipped in one point in a game in which every point mattered.

Not surprisingly, Coach Ebert said after the game, “I couldn’t be any more proud of these kids.” He speaks for everyone in Frankfort or associated with the school; all appreciate the determination with which the Wildcats compete year in and year out.

The town didn’t quite fold up for the tournament, but the Wildcats had more than their share of fans in Hays. None of them couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

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