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BY RICK TEVERBAUGH
FRANKTON — Lauryn Bates scored 42 points to reach the 1,000-point plateau and Frankton completed a girls-boys, double-header sweep of Elwood here Friday night.
The Lady Eagles were winners, 84-4, as Stephan Hamaker was recognized as the school’s career leader in girls basketball victories before the game. Boys coach Brent Brobston reached a similar milestone earlier this month for coaching wins at the school.
The boys contest was much more competitive as the Eagles came away with a 60-44 triumph.
Frankton was mindful of the fact that it had another game to play on Saturday at Tri-Central so the starters were liberally given bench minutes throughout the game. “We wanted to get a good lead early,” said Brobston. “Then we could get all 13 guys in. We could work on our 1-3-1 (zone) defense, which we haven’t used all year.”
The Eagles did just that, forging a 20-9 lead after one quarter ad stretching that to 36-19 at halftime. The second quarter had a bit of an unusual feel as neither turned had any turnovers. The lead increased slightly in the third quarter to 52-32.
With the Frankton starters only scoring four points in the final period, the Panthers outscored their hosts 12-8 for the final margin.
Five players had seven or more points for Frankton. Harrison Schwinn and Colin Gardner each scored 11, while Blake Mills added 10. The Eagles were determined to take the ball inside and took just nine shots from long range.
Elwood’s performance was especially impressive in two areas. The team did not turn the ball over much. “The scoreboard said we were the losing team, but in the locker room it felt like we had won,” said Elwood coach John Kelly. “The reason was that we had just seven turnovers. We had a team that played hard for the entire 32 minutes and that’s what we have been after all year.”
The second bright spot was the inside play of junior Hunter Sallee. He scored 28 of his team’s 44 and missed just six shots in the contest. He completed the double-double with 11 rebounds.
“Before the game, Hunter told me that tonight he was going to own it,” said Kelly. “The players trusted him and that’s a big deal for us, trusting one another. The players fed off his intensity. We haven’t had him for a lot of the season and that’s hurt us.”
Elwood plays next on Monday at Blackford.
It was a special evening in the girls contest for Bates. She knew she was 42 points away before the game started.
“At halftime, I knew I had been having a good game,” said Bates. “They told me I had 20 points. I really hoped I could do it here tonight.” If Bates plays another game on this court it would have to be the girls regional should the team win the Lapel Sectional next week.
But the clock was working against her. Since the score was 53-2 at intermission, that meant the running clock would be in place and would only stop for time outs and free throws.
“I thought, with the defense we would play, it was was going to be tough,” she said. “But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates getting me the ball. They played a special part of what happened tonight.”
Yet there were no official instructions from the coach until the game’s final minutes. “With only a few minutes to play, she needed seven points, so I told the girls during a time out that we should get her the ball,” said Hamaker. “I think she passed the ball and had two or three assists during that time.”
But with 52.6 seconds left, she hit a jumper to reach the milestone. The game was halted and the achievement was recognized. “I figured I would get it next week in sectional, but I really wanted to do it here in my home gym.”
“I don’t like really beating a team by that much,” said Hamaker. “But it was great to get her to 1,000 tonight so we could honor her when it happened.”
Hamaker has 190 wins at the school in 11 seasons. His team will next play in the Lapel Sectional on Tuesday against the Alexandria Tigers.
All four of Elwood’s points came from sophomore Hayleigh Christian. The Panthers also play next at the same sectional, taking on the host Bulldogs, also on Tuesday.