WICHITA, Kan.—He didn’t break any more records, but the legend of Conner Frankamp grew a little more Friday night.
The North High star scored 43 points in a hostile environment at Kapaun Mount Carmel, leading the Redskins back from a fourth-quarter deficit to a 67-61 victory and a season sweep over the defending Class 5A champions.
Frankamp made 12 of 22 shots, including six 3-pointers. He scored 12 in third quarter and 11 in the fourth. He guarded Kapaun’s best player, Braden Hullings, who ended the night with 15.
“I played pretty decent defense on the Hullings kid,” said Frankamp, shrugging his shoulders. “And I pretty much got the shots that I wanted. So I guess I’d give myself a B-plus or an A.”
Frankamp, a senior who has signed with the University of Kansas, topped the 40-point mark for the eighth time in his high school career. North improved to 14-2 and comfortably leads the City League with an 11-1 record.
Things weren’t looking too promising for the Redskins in the game’s middle minutes, though.
Kapaun (11-5, 8-4) ended the first half and started the second with a 23-4 run. That gave the Crusaders a 41-33 lead early in the third quarter.
“We were trying to get them to scramble a little bit,” Kapaun coach John Cherne said. “We tried to get the ball out of (Frankamp’s) hands and make some other kids work for it.”
Kapaun scored 22 points in the second quarter.
“They really got hot on us,” North coach Gary Squires said. “We couldn’t guard anybody. We’d come down the floor and they were running at us. If we stopped their ball penetration, they’d kick it out and get a 3. When they get it going, they can get some deep 3s on you.”
Of course, so can Frankamp. And that’s just what he did when Redskins were down by eight early in the third quarter, hitting back-to-back 3-points that narrowed Kapaun’s lead to 41-39.
“It was a packed house and our defense was lagging a little bit,” Frankamp said. “But we did a good job of trying to weather the storm.”
Kapaun wasn’t finished, though. Crusaders guard Damien Akao answered Frankamp with back-to-back 3-pointers of his own.
“That was not on the scouting report,” Squires said.
Akao’s 3-pointers pushed Kapaun’s lead back up to 47-39. He ended the night with 13 points.
“Damien doesn’t show much emotion, but he’s been coming on of late,” Chernes said. “He’s very calm, cool and collected.”
Right after that, North forward Sean Bernard, who scored 11, picked up his third foul. But thanks to Frankamp – who went to sink two more 3-pointers and had a pair of nice assists in the rest of that third quarter - the Redskins entered the fourth quarter only down 51-49.
The game was tied at 58 with five minutes left. But the rest of the game wasn’t as dramatic as you might think. Frankamp went to the free throw line 10 times that final quarter, making nine. The Redskins milked the rest of their possessions for all the seconds they could, and they never trailed again.
Still, it was a far cry from the 31-point beating North gave Kapaun back in December.
“I tried to do too much in that game to change to North, instead of doing our stuff,” Cherne said. “This time I told the kids, ‘We’re going to be Kapaun . We’re going to do what we do.”
Toby Baxter led the Crusaders with 17 points.