By DANILYNN WELNIAK
11:35 PM CST, January 18, 2013
Dodge City, Kan.
The Tournament of Champions semi-final match ups lived up to the hype, especially the No. 1 3A Scott City and No. 3 6A Wichita North game. The Redskins leading scorer, senior Conner Frankamp, went down in the bloody battle but his teammates stepped up to scrape out the overtime victory against the Beavers 67-63.
Scott City was missing a vital component coming into the game, sophomore defensive anchor Trey O’Neil, but he wouldn’t be the last casualty for these two teams. This battle was bloody.
Scott City packed the first punch taking a quick lead as senior Austin Habiger dropped in three. He had 16 points on the night as the third leading scorer for the Beavers. They put three players in double digits. After a back-and-forth battle at the end of the first quarter North led 20-16.
It started getting more physical in the second quarter. The Redskins' defense became more successful at creating turnovers. With another fast break finished by Frankamp, North had the momentum 32-27.
Two minutes remained in the first half and the Redskins started finding their groove. As soon as they got in to the swing of things their worst nightmare played in front of them. Frankamp intercepts a pass from Beaver senior Tyler Hess and takes the ball in for a fast break layup. However as he goes up he lands on Habinger’s foot and comes down hard on his head. A concussion and stitches were the result and he did not return to the game.
"When I saw him actually hit the floor and his head actually hit the hardwood I knew he probably would not be returning," North head coach Gary Squires said. "By the time I got out there he was in bad shape with the gash on the side of his forehead. I knew at that point that we had to go to plan B."
Squires said the key to winning was how well the rest of his team stepped up after Frankamp's injury.
"Our bigs played well," he said. "Daniel Mathiasen did a great job, Beau Shockley did a great job and of course so did Sean Bernard. All three of those guys did a great job inside. Our guards Zach Beard made some shots for us, we had somebody that had to step up for us offensively and pick up the offense and that's what all three of our guards did."
Scott City head coach Glenn O'Neil said Frankamp's injury put a damper on the rest of the game.
"We felt some disappointment and frustration," he said. "You know we come down here and you want to play against those really good players. Ten or fifteen years down the line we're thinking, 'Man, we played against Conner Frankamp,' who everybody knows is going to be a college player and the all time leading scorer in Wichita. We come down here for that and it just kind of deflated everybody, the crowd, us and them, so it was disappointing for sure."
The Beavers tried to feed the posts but their perimeter play turned out to be what they were looking for. North headed into halftime ahead by two points 36-34. Squires said this was a pivitol point for the Redskins.
"We went from a man to a zone and they missed some shots," he said. "I told the kids at halftime they're making everything they're putting up. So I said let's go to zone and leave them wide open because they were making shots coming off picks and stuff like that and our man just wasn't getting it done. They were hesitant and I knew we had a good thing going on."
Scott City battled back as the Redskins got their grip on the new defense. Beaver Senior Joey Meyer led the team with 19 points on the night . The Beavers took a one point lead at the end of the third quarter 49-48. It would be short lived. Wichita North's guards stepped up in the fourth quarter outscoring the Beavers 12-11.
Redskin guard Tarius Williams stepped up with a good night and 12 points. He dropped in a jump shot at the end of the fourth and the game was tied at 60 at the end of regulation.
In overtime North's leading scorer with 17 points got big for the Redskins. Junior guard Zach Beard opened it up, layed in two plus one at the line to seal the win 67-63 in overtime.
Scott City and Wichita North both proved something valuable at the United Wireless Arena. The Beavers can hang with the big schools and the Redskins have other weapons besides Frankamp.
"This is just something to build off of," O'Neil said. "You know there were some lessons out there that we did not accomplish tonight and hopefully we can look back on film and say this is where we went wrong. In other cases we can say we made a good choice and learn from those. We come down here for the sole purpose of playing in tight games against a good team in front of a big crowd. So you know we accomplished that part, we just didn't get the W."
Wichita North will play Shawnee Mission South in the TOC Championship at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Dodge City will face Scott City for third place at 4 p.m. and Newton will take on Derby in the Consolation Championship at 2:30 p.m.
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