WICHITA SOUTHEAST—Conner Frankamp scored all of Wichita North’s fourth-quarter points Saturday, including the final bucket that gave the boys basketball team a 59-57 win at Wichita Southeast.
The victory ensured the Redkins at least a share of the City League title, their first since 1974.
Saturday’s matchup was the third game in one week for both teams. After scoring six three-pointers during his 43-point night Friday at Kapaun Mount Carmel, Frankamp poured in five treys Saturday. That included a streak of four during the fourth quarter.
Although the Redskins walloped Southeast 76-53 in December, North coach Gary Squires said he knew Saturday’s contest would be competitive.
“They probably play 16, 20 points better at home than they do on the road,” he said.
North dominated early and led 17-8 at the end of the first quarter. Southeast’s 7-2 run narrowed the gap to four, 19-15, near the six-minute mark. North rebuilt its lead to seven, 28-21, but the Redskins’ advantage was whittled to just 30-29 by halftime.
“We’re all really tired from last night’s game,” said Frankamp.
North used a triangle-and-two defense in the first quarter Saturday, but the visitor had switched to man-to-man by the second half.
“That helped us out a little bit,” Frankamp remarked. “Our defense wasn’t as good as it could have been.”
The score remained close throughout the third quarter, and Southeast led 46-43 heading into the fourth. That’s when Frankamp took over.
His first four baskets were three-pointers, and the last one gave North the lead, 55-54, with 3:18 remaining in the game. Following a timeout, the Redskins ran down the clock until Southeast junior E.J. Garnes fouled Frankamp with 59 seconds left. Frankamp sank both free throws.
Southeast’s last points of the night occurred when sophomore DeQuan Love made a field goal and hit the and-one to tie the score 57-57 at the 42-second mark. The Buffaloes used a timeout, but when North gained possession, it allowed time to elapse until Frankamp shot a long two. As soon as the ball dropped through the net, the final timeout was called with three seconds on the clock.
When the action resumed, Garnes attempted a long three but missed. That meant North escaped with a 59-57 victory.
Frankamp said the strategy for the game-winning shot was for him to get the ball with about 10 seconds left and try to make a play.
“I was pretty confident when I let it go,” he added. “It looked pretty good.”
The win boosted North’s record to 15-2 while Southeast dropped to 7-9. Freshman Elijah Payne and junior Jordan Murdock led the Buffaloes with 16 points apiece Saturday.
In addition to Frankamp, North junior Sean Bernard reached double figures with 14 points.
Saturday’s game was only the Redskins’ fourth this year that was settled by fewer than five points. Squires said close matchups help the players learn their roles and help them prepare for the postseason.
“They’ve grown from each one of the close games,” he continued.
Frankamp, who is used to scrutiny, said he didn’t mind taking the game-winning shot.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” he said, “but I love that.”