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Frickey’s big night propels Ellis to sub-state final

Ellis defeated Trego Community in Thursday's sub-state semifinal matchup in WaKeeney
Ellis defeated Trego Community in Thursday's sub-state semifinal matchup in WaKeeney(Everett Royer, www.ksportsimages.com)
Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 1:07 AM CST
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WaKEENEY, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - WaKeeney-Trego boys’ basketball coach Sean Dreiling played at Fort Hays State University and briefly spent time on the Tiger coaching staff. When Dreiling worked at FHSU, he came to Ellis for a camp when Brady Frickey was in seventh grade.

The left-handed Frickey highly impressed Dreiling. Frickey has since enjoyed an excellent high school career and has cleared 1,000 career points.

“He has developed into such a great player,” Dreiling said.

On Thursday, Frickey again showcased his array of fakes, moves, and shots at different angles for a game-high 25 points. Frickey helped Ellis pull away in the fourth quarter for a 53-43 win against host WaKeeney in a sub-state semifinal contest.

Ellis tallied the game’s final 10 points, including nine from Frickey. The senior credited Ellis coach Mark Eck and his brother, Geoff Eck, for helping. The Eck brothers played on the undefeated 1995-96 Tiger men’s basketball team. Frickey still remembers the camps from Dreiling, including at Fort Hays. Frickey said Dreiling and him “got along all the time.”

“I have just been playing for a long time,” Frickey said. “And I have had great coaches that have helped me improve my game, and I’d say I have got to give credit to them.”

Ellis defeated Trego Community in Thursday's sub-state semifinal matchup in WaKeeney
Ellis defeated Trego Community in Thursday's sub-state semifinal matchup in WaKeeney(Everett Royer, www.ksportsimages.com)

Ellis improved to 17-5 and moved into Saturday’s sub-state championship game versus Hoxie, 22-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class 2A all season. The Railers have provided Hoxie’s closest game with a 63-62 margin on Feb. 16. Hoxie hit a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to win.

WaKeeney finished 16-6, including three losses to Hoxie, for the school’s best season since ’08-09. The Golden Eagles defeated Ellis, 56-50, on Jan. 22, and 54-42 on Feb. 5.

“That’s a very, very good Trego team,” coach Eck said. “Their kids compete. I mean, they are probably one of the most sound defensive teams we have played all year.”

Trego junior Charlie Russell, an expected first team all-league player, finished with 22 points and eight rebounds. He averaged 15 points and six rebounds a contest this season.

“We want a little bit more, and we are capable of more, but overall pleased,” Dreiling said of the year. “I told the guys, ‘One game doesn’t define a season.’”

Ellis had a strong defensive performance and received solid play for its supporting cast, including seniors Daniel Eck and Zach Schiel and junior Sam Honas. Ellis tried to switch screens in the first two Trego meetings. This time, Ellis held Trego to just 2 of 3 from the foul line.

Ellis defeated Trego Community in Thursday's sub-state semifinal matchup in WaKeeney
Ellis defeated Trego Community in Thursday's sub-state semifinal matchup in WaKeeney(Everett Royer, www.ksportsimages.com)

“And I told the kids, it’s just time to get down to basics, and just play hard, man-to-man, tough-nosed defense and fight through everything and scratch and claw and do everything we can to gain an advantage,” Eck said. “And I thought the kids played one of their best defensive games.”

The first half featured 10 lead changes before Ellis scored the final two baskets of the first half and took a 23-19 intermission lead. Both baskets came from Frickey.

“We were a little flat tonight,” Dreiling said. “Give great credit to Mark Eck and Brady Frickey – my goodness, man, that kid.”

The first time, he collected a pass from junior point guard Tyson Jimenez, worked around the defender and scored with his left hand off the side of the backboard.

“You don’t just get that way showing up to practice on the first day of season,” coach Eck said. “Brady has been one of those kids, he’s always showed up to open gyms. He’s always worked at it. He loves the game. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s probably one of the best pure scorers I’ve ever coached.”

Then, he drove in and split the defense for a basket in the final seconds. Ellis led 35-26 after Frickey tallied 10 points in the first four-plus minutes of the third quarter. That included a pair of treys and a basket from an inbounds pass from senior Daniel Eck.

“First half we were aggressive, but we were kind of playing a lot of 1-on-1 ball,” Frickey said. “But second half we moved the ball well and got to the rim, and I felt like that’s what helped us score a lot more points.”

WaKeeney tied the game at 43 in the fourth before Frickey made two free throws. Then, he had a fake from the left side of the 3-point line and blew in for a layup and four-point margin.

“Just got to learn where the angles are at,” Frickey said. “When you practice it for a long time, you will figure it out.”

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