INDIANAPOLIS — One member of the Frankton pep band, emerging from a tunnel at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, looked up into the expansive arena and remarked, “Wow, look at this place.”
The Eagles would like to see more of Indiana’s basketball mecca in March, but for now they’ll have to be content with a dominating 72-42 victory against Central Indiana Conference rival Oak Hill on Saturday night.
“I thought we seemed more comfortable tonight than we have in any game,” Frankton coach Brent Brobston said, shooting down any notion his team might have been intimidated by its surroundings.
That calm showed on the court. The Eagles (5-0) scored 14 of the game’s first 16 points and pushed their lead to 20 points midway through the second quarter. For much of the second half, Frankton’s biggest opponent was complacency.
Oak Hill (0-5) never really threatened after answering Nick Wright’s game-opening 3-pointer with an easy basket inside. The shot by Wright was a tone-setter.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse is a notoriously difficult venue for first time shooters, but Wright seemed to put those fears to rest by confidently draining his first jumper. He finished 3-for-3 from 3-point range, and Frankton shot 9-for-15 from beyond the arc overall.
“That was a big shot,” Brobston said. “He hit that, and it shot up his confidence and everybody else, too.”
The Eagles enjoyed a balanced attack, with nine players scoring and four reaching double figures. Mr. Basketball candidate Aaron Korn led the way with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, and point guard Austin Compton finished just shy of a triple-double with 11 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
Wright added 13 points, and Jordan Reeves had 10 for a Frankton team that never trailed.
“Four guys in double figures is a great thing for us,” Brobston said.
Ranked No. 4 in Class 2A, the Eagles have yet to be challenged. Saturday’s 30-point margin of victory matched its season average, and Frankton has surrendered more than 45 points just once.
The defense forced more turnovers (17) than Oak Hill field goals (14), and it wasn’t even a spectacular night.
“Our goal was to put pressure on them for four quarters, and I thought we did a good job of that,” said Brobston, noting the NBA court’s 10 feet of additional length took some of the steam out of the Eagles’ press.
Nearly 600 fans made the trek south to support Frankton — which played the fifth contest in the six-game Hoosier Invitational slate — and they’d gladly do so again a few months from now with a state title on the line. That’s the kind of heady thoughts that sneak into a team’s head after a start like this.
But the Eagles have a showdown coming up next Friday against Class 2A No. 2 Wapahani, and the teams again are slated to play in the same sectional. So Brobston can be excused for declining to look too far ahead.
“Obviously, our goal in the tournament is to try and advance,” he said. “But the thing with the tournament series is, you’ve gotta advance every night.”