By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL — Frankton trailed Winchester 27-23 at halftime of Friday's second semifinal sectional game.
The message at halftime was to the point.
"At the half I told them they weren't playing very tough," said Frankton coach Brent Brobston. "We got out hustled and outplayed. I told them if that continued in the second half we would lose."
The Eagles picked up the intensity and therefore the tempo after intermission and got past Winchester 72-66. They will play Wapahani in the championship game tonight at 7:30.
Aaron Korn had 11 points at halftime, nearly half of his team's total and he had twice that many in the second half to finish with a game-high 33 points.
Frankton center Jordan Reeves turned into a beast inside after the break. Over the first 16 minutes, he had six points. He added five in the third quarter and eight in the fourth to end the night with 21. He and Korn accounted for all but 18 of the winning team's points and 20 of the team's rebounds.
"Jordan rebounded the ball very well," said Brobston. "He got all that he did from great effort."
Yet the game turned on more than just the play of those two seniors.
The tempo and intensity was kickstarted by Conner and Cameron Bates as they hounded the Golden Falcons into six miscues in the third quarter. Winchester looked uncomfortable the entire period. Only the Falcons shooting 6-of-10 in the quarter kept them from being outscored by more than 22-15. Jordan Mills was largely responsible for that offense as he hit all four of his field goal attempts and both free throws for 11 points.
"In the third quarter we wanted to speed up the tempo," said Brobston. "We also wanted to put more pressure on them. We adjusted our press to cover where they were going."
Frankton was able to pull away further in the fourth quarter to give the team and fans a bit of breathing room. The Falcons missed just six shots in a 24-point fourth quarter but never got closer than the final score down the stretch.
Brandon Edwards topped Winchester with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Mills was next with 16 points and Kiante Enis had 14, though 10 of those came in the first quarter.
The teams battled to a 30-30 standoff on the boards. Reeves led the Eagles with 13, and Enis had six to be best for the Falcons.
Now at last fans have the rematch of last year's sectional championship game that many were pointing toward. The Raiders are 21-1 and the only loss they suffered was at Frankton in December. Last year in the title game, Wapahani prevailed 52-50 in two overtimes.
"It will be a completely different game than the one tonight," said Brobston. "They are a great team. We will have to have intensity. They have seven nice players who play well together. But this is a sectional title game so I think both teams will play with good intensity."