Frankfort, Bellaire reach Sweet 16 with regional semifinal wins | Local Sports
TRAVERSE CITY – The game was stopped more times than in the game.
In a game with 51 fouls and 69 free-throw attempts between Frankfort and McBain Northern Michigan Christian, the Panthers finished first after eight points behind at the beginning of the fourth quarter with 53:50.
Frankfort (13-4) reaches the regional final against Bellaire (15-3) at Traverse City Central after the Bellaire defeated Gaylord St. Mary with 44-30.
“We knew that we could wear them down one way or the other if we were to continue grinding at some point, either with fouls or even just with our feet,” said Frankfurt coach Tim Reznich. “It worked like this for us.”
The Comets were up six at halftime and at the end of the third quarter, but had gotten into nasty trouble with enough time left in the game. The starters Ally Krick, Maggie Yount and Megan Bennett had fouled every six and a half minutes before the start of the game, forcing NMCS coach Rich Bennett to bring newcomers to the floor during crunch time.
Frankfort withdrew from the deficit in the charity strip and scored 16 free throws in 27 attempts in the fourth quarter. The Panthers took the lead in less than a minute to exit a Madison Clouse basket, just the second of the last verse for FHS. It ended with a run in the fourth quarter in which they left the comets behind at 20: 9.
“Not really impressed with the reefing, but it’s going to be what it is going to be,” said Rich Bennett. “When they (Frankfurt) saw that we fouled, they naturally put us under pressure – which any good coach and team would have done.”
Reagan Thorr ended his career with 27 points for Frankfort, including a 14v21 clip from the free throw line. She messed up two minutes before the end.
Grace Wolfe scored six points on free throws – including the game-winning free throw at 50 points – and ended up with a total of eight points. Clouse added seven points.
“In the locker room at halftime, we just said, ‘We can’t give up now, put everything out there. This could be our last game so we have to play like it is our last, ”said Thorr. “We just had to keep our trust. We had some energy, but we needed more. So we just tried to get it through and it worked. “
Thorr said at times during the long journey of guiding the comets that it felt like the panthers were out of the picture. When that feeling hit, however, it was more of a wake-up call than a sign to give up.
Frankfort scored as a team from the free throw line at 26:44, although he only shot 32.5 percent from the field.
“I think our main thing is our energy,” said Thorr. “Every time we get a break, we always try to scream into the break, scream into the group, just to increase our energies and make sure everyone is there.
“We always say ‘Birdbrain’. If you screw it up, just forget about it and move on to the next game. Just like short term memory, just keep going. “
Frankfort last played in the regional finals in 2017. There were seven series in a row in the 2020 season, but a new series started in 2021 with a win over Mesick last week.
“It’s definitely a big game for us, we’re super excited,” said Thorr. “We just want to go all the way and of course that’s the end goal, but one game at a time.”
NMCS was due to play with Bellaire in the regional semifinals at TC Central before the remainder of the postseason was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
“I think it’s easier to take a loss than it was last year,” said Rich Bennett. “Last year was a stranger and that was difficult. This year it’s good to know that the girls left everything on the pitch, they did their best, they did the best job they could. They left it out there and I appreciate that. “
Megan Bennett led NMCS with 15 points, Paige Ebels with 12 and Aliana Rozeevald with 10.
The Comets end their 11-4 season.
Bellaire ends the Snowbirds’ run
The ‘St. Mary Six ‘and her unexpected regional run ended.
Bellaire defeated Gaylord St. Mary 44-30 in the regional semifinals. The Snowbirds played with six players after multiple injuries and COVID-19 contact tracing quarantines.
Macey Bebble returned to the line-up for St. Mary, as did Katie Decker for Bellaire.
Decker obviously didn’t miss a beat on their return. She led Bellaire with 13 points. Emersyn Koepke added 12.
“Unfortunately, I feel for St. Mary,” said Bellaire coach Brad Fischer. “Although we obviously played them, I wish they were at full strength because that’s how the game was supposed to be played.”
Bellaire Junior Charlie Boyce was injured after injuring his ankle during training the night before. Outstanding sophomore student Jacey Somers didn’t gamble because of the COVID-19 quarantine, but Fischer was informed Monday morning by a Northwest Michigan health officer that Decker had been cleared to play.
It wasn’t Somers and Fischer doesn’t expect her to play against Frankfurt, but he didn’t expect Decker either.
“I’ll take another miracle,” said Fischer. “Whoever we have, we’ll just join in and get started and be ready to play a good Frankfurt team.”
St. Mary was led by Bebble and Sydney Grusczynski with eight points each. Grusczynski and Bailey Murrell each ended with four fouls, but none were fouled.
“The fact that these kids have been working really hard for the last three or four weeks of the season and people have gone, and COVID, and literally the lineups that are changing day by day,” said Pat Schultz, coach of St .Mary. “I have so much respect for these girls there. They reached out and gave us everything they had. I can’t say enough “
The Sweet 16 game against Bellaire and Frankfort ends on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at TC Central. The winner of this game will face either Saginaw Nouvel (17-1) or Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (15-3) in Lake City on Monday.
TC Central is hosting a boys regional semi-final between Marquette and Midland on Tuesday at 7pm