CORRECTION: The earlier version of this story incorrectly described the play in which Wichita North's Conner Frankamp was injured. Frankamp was fouled by Scott City's Austin Habiger when he was in mid-air attempting a dunk.
By BRETT MARSHALL
DODGE CITY — The reason Glenn O’Neil brought his two-time defending Class 3A champions to the 70th Tournament of Champions was to compete against the best players, and best teams, in Kansas.
Friday night’s semifinal battle against Conner Frankamp and Wichita North, ranked No. 3 in Class 6A, was just the setting.
The Beavers took the Redskins into overtime, before falling 67-63, to see their unbeaten season go by the wayside, and in the meantime, they only briefly saw Frankamp, who was injured on a hard foul at the 2:21 mark of the second quarter and North up by just two, 20-18.
Frankamp, who was motoring downcourt, went in for a dunk but was fouled by Scott City's Austin Habiger, who had just thrown the errant pass into Frankamp's hands. As Frankamp went in for the one-handed slam from the right side, Habiger made hard contact with his upper body with Frankamp in mid-air.
A gash on the left temple area left him stunned and bleeding, and nearly 15 minutes later he was wheeled off in a chair and never returned. He had scored nine points in the early going after being harassed by the Beavers’ swarming defense.
“It was crazy and unfortunate,” O’Neil said of the fluke play. “We came here to play against Conner and nobody ever wants to see a player get hurt. It was disrupting to everybody. We just hope he’ll be okay soon.”
With Frankamp unable to return, the Redskins had to go to the rest of their players to pick up the slack, and they responded the way any coach would hope.
“I knew right then that we’d have to go to plan B,” said North coach Gary Squires. “The kids did a great job and stepped up. At halftime I told the kids that we’re looking at next year’s team here, and that it was up to them to pick it up and take care of things.”
The game was tied at 60 at the end of regulation thanks to a bucket by Drew Kite and a free throw by Austin Habiger in the final 90 seconds. Habiger went to the free throw line in place of Tyler Hess, who also exited the game with a blow to the head with just 20.5 seconds left in regulation. Hess, also bloodied by the hit, apparently was cut on his neck, just below the left ear, and didn’t return to the floor.
Habiger missed the first of the two charities, but swished the other to knot the score. North couldn’t get its final shot to go down, setting up the four-minute extra period.
The Beavers didn’t handle themselves so well after that, committing two costly turnovers and missing numerous wide-open shots, and despite falling behind quickly at 64-60, got back within one, 64-63, when Brett O’Neil scored on a traditional 3-point play with 1:06 remaining.
That would be it, though, as North’s Tristyn Villa cashed a pair of free throws with 1:05 showing, and Beau Shockley added 1-of-2 charities to ice the victory.
“We didn’t make some shots and had a couple of crazy turnovers that hurt,” coach O’Neil said of the overtime period. “But we came here and got a tight game against a good team with a big crowd. This hurts for the moment, but as long as we learn from this, we’ll be OK.”
In Frankamp’s absence, North’s Zach Beard and Tarius Williams stepped up big with 17 and 12 points, respectively. Villa added nine and Sean Bernard eight for the Redskins.
“I thought a bunch of our kids grew up a lot tonight,” Squires said of his team. “Our bigs did a good job of getting some good low baskets and our guards just did a great job of managing the game.”
For the Beavers, now 7-1, the inside play of forwards Joey Meyer and Drew Kite carried the offense. Meyer finished with 19 and Kite was right behind with 18. Habiger added 10, including three 3-pointers.
“A couple of plays here, a couple there, and we’ve got a chance to win the game,” coach O’Neil said. “We had a couple of unforced errors I wish we had back.”
Scott City shot 44.9 percent from the field (22-of-49) while North was 24-of-52 (46.2 percent). The Beavers won the board battle, 34-29, but committed 19 turnovers to 17 miscues for the Redskins.
The Beavers were short-handed themselves, as they were without sophomore guard Trey O’Neil, the coach’s youngest son. The younger O’Neil re-injured his right knee in the second quarter of Thursday’s win over Derby, and coach O’Neil said that he expected Trey to be out another week to 10 days after seeing a doctor in Scott City early Friday.
The loss puts the Beavers into the third-place game at 4 p.m. today against Dodge City, which lost to top-ranked Class 5A Shawnee Mission South, 66-31 in the late semifinal. In earlier Friday consolation bracket games, Derby, which lost to the Beavers on Thursday night, easily handled Buhler, 64-48, and Newton rolled past Wichita South, 72-53.
The seventh place game between Buhler and Wichita South will be at 1 p.m. today while the fourth/sixth place game will tipoff at approximately 2:30 p.m. The championship game is slated for 6 p.m.
Scott City 16 18 15 11 3 — 63
Wichita North 20 16 12 12 7 — 67
Scott City (63) — B. O’Neil 1-8 7-9 9, B. Meyer 1-2 0-1 2, Hess 1-3 0-0 2, Habiger 3-10 1-2 10, Wilson 1-3 0-0 3, J. Meyer 9-12 1-2 19, Kite 6-11 6-9 18. Totals 22-49 15-22 63.
Wichita North (67) — Beard 6-15 2-3 17, Villa 1-2 6-7 9, Williams 4-8 4-4 12, Bogle 1-1 0-0 2, Shockley 2-3 1-2 5, Frankamp 4-9 1-1 9, Bernard 4-10 0-2 8, Mathiasen 2-4 1-2 5. Totals 24-52 15-21 67.
3-point goals—Scott City 4-17 (B. O’Neil 0-5, B. Meyer 0-1, Habiger 3-8, Wilson 1-3), North 4-11 (Beard 3-6, Villa 1-2, Frankamp 0-3). Rebounds—Scott City 34 (Kite 11), North 29 (Bernard 9). Turnovers—Scott City 19, North 14. Assists—Scott City 18 (B. O’Neil 7), North 12 (Williams 5). Steals—Scott City 10, North 7. Fouls—Scott City 19, North 17. Fouled out—Scott City (J. Meyer).