Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

December 22, 2013

Hot Dogs survive Panthers' comeback bid

Frankfort's 20-0 run in first half dooms Western

FRANKFORT — In a boys basketball game that was physical throughout and chippy at times, Frankfort built a big lead and then held off Western’s comeback bid to claim a 66-58 win Saturday night at Case Arena.

The Hot Dogs (5-2) had a 17-point advantage deep in the third quarter when things became interesting. Western guard Evan Warden scored nine points over the final 2:20 of the quarter to help draw the Panthers within 47-37. The Panthers seemed to come alive following a dust-up in which the teams exchanged pushes and shoves.

The Panthers (3-3) carried the momentum over to the fourth quarter. They closed to within one, 53-52, when Mo Townsend hit a 3-pointer off a Des Balentine assist at 4:18. The Hot Dogs followed with a 5-0 run for a 58-52 lead at 1:55, but the Panthers kept battling and closed to within 60-58 at :20.1. The Hot Dogs knocked down 6 of 6 free throws the rest of the way to secure the win.

“It was a very physical ballgame,” Western coach Bart Miller said. “There was more than just the one dust-up. There were quite a few. I was thinking, ‘As physical as this ballgame is and as competitive as both teams are, something might end up [escalating].’ The refs did a nice job of keeping it from getting out of control.”

The Hot Dogs took control in the second quarter when they blitzed the Panthers with a 20-0 run over the final 6:36. The Panthers led 15-10 after the opening quarter, but trailed 31-18 at halftime.

“We let their physicality really take over in the second quarter,” Miller said. “The first quarter, we were fine. The second quarter, we started looking for calls and they weren’t calling them, but they weren’t calling them against us either. Our guys need to adjust to that.

“The second half, our guys adjusted and the guys put on a heck of a fight for us. The problem was, we got too far behind there in the second quarter.”

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