FRANKFORT — Western’s boys basketball team evened its record at 2-2 with a very convincing 82-52 victory over the Frankfort Hot Dogs on Saturday night at Everett N. Case Arena.
Western set the tone early with an aggressive man-to-man defense that stretched well beyond the 3-point line. The Hot Dogs had six turnovers and just two points with 1:17 left in the first quarter and trailed the Panthers 15-2.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of following our scouting report,” Western coach Mike Lewis said. “We knew they had some shooters and we were able to keep them locked down, not giving them any good looks.”
A 3-pointer from the right wing by Frankfort’s Riley Goodnight cut the Panthers’ lead to 15-5 at the first stop. The Hot Dogs hit just 2 of 8 field-goal attempts in the first quarter, including 1-of-4 shooting from behind the 3-point arc.
Meanwhile, Western’s shooters were red hot, particularly Kyle Sanders. The Panther junior hit all four of his attempts, including one from 3-point range, for nine points in the opening quarter. Sanders finished with a game-high 25 points, shooting 10 of 13 from the field, hitting all five of his 3-point attempts.
“Kyle was the star [Saturday],” Lewis said. “The rest of the team did a nice job finding him early, and he was aggressive going to the basket.”
Western’s lead was still just 10 (29-19) late in the half when Avery Hayes got hot. Hayes hit three 3-pointers in the final 1:26 of the half, giving the Panthers a 38-21 halftime lead. Hayes hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.
“It was great to see Avery hit some shots,” Lewis said. “It really opens up the floor when you have a sniper like that knocking down long-range shots.”
Western put the game away by outscoring Frankfort 17-4 to start the third quarter. This time Evan Kretz got things started, scoring three early buckets for Western. Kretz scored on a short jumper in the lane, an offensive rebound and a putback and a 3-pointer from the left wing. Sanders and Dylan Bryant each added a 3-pointer during that spurt. With 2:41 left in the third, Western led by 30, 55-25.
“Kretz has a whole lot of potential,” Lewis said. “He shows that when he plays on two feet and is aggressive in the paint. Overall, I thought we had great balance [Saturday].”
Four Panthers scored in double figures. Along with Sanders and Hayes, Kretz and Nathaniel Liddell scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Panthers hit 33 of 53 field-goal attempts for 62%, including 14 of 24 (58%) from 3-point range.
The 1-1 Hot Dogs struggled from the field hitting just 19 of 43 field-goal attempts (44%) and 5 of 17 from beyond the arc (29%). Trey Frazier was the only Hot Dog to score in double figures, finishing with 24 after scoring 13 in the fourth quarter.
Western has a two-game weekend coming up, traveling to Hoosier Conference East Division rival Tipton on Friday, then hosting Rossville on Saturday. Frankfort visits Tri-West on Saturday for a Sagamore Conference game.