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Keyser defeats Frankfort in battle of Mineral County

Jan. 28—SHORT GAP, W.Va. — Frankfort gave No. 4 Keyser everything they had, but the Golden Tornado did enough to leave Short Gap with a 50-32 win on Friday.

"We had a lot of miscues tonight," Keyser head coach Josh Blowe said. "I don't know what it is, but we've been a second half team. On the road, for whatever reason, we have not put together even three quarters of good basketball. That's really worrisome, we've got a lot of road games coming down the stretch."

Keyser outscored Frankfort 30-19 in the second half, continuing a theme of playing better after halftime this season.

"I thought we played well for three quarters," Frankfort head coach Steve Willison said. "Once we went into the fourth quarter, I think we got tired. They kind of walked away from us."

Leading 20-13 at halftime, the Tornado opened the second half with 10 unanswered points.

Autumn Kerchner, who finished with 11 points and two assists, scored six points for Keyser during the run.

After a steal by Abby Del Signore, Rooney Urice set up Kiya Kesner who banked in a jumper to go up 30-13 with 5:02 left in the third quarter.

Kesner scored eight of her 13 points in the second half and also finished with three assists.

"Kiya has played amazing the last two weeks of the season," Blowe said. "She's really turned the switch back to some things she was doing last year. I'd say the last three games, she's averaging 13 points. If she stays at that level, we're gonna be tough to beat."

The Falcons took a timeout, and Lynsey Zimmerman assisted Kendall Kelly on a layup for Frankfort's first score of the half.

The Falcons ended the third quarter on a 11-5 run led by Zimmerman who scored seven points.

"I told the girls, this is their Super Bowl," Blowe said. "They're gonna play harder than they have all year. They're gonna give more effort, more emotion. It's Keyser and Frankfort, if you expect anything less than that, it's not the night for you."

Zimmerman led Frankfort with 11 points and two assists.

Kelly hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 35-26 after three quarters.

Keyser then maintained around a 10-12 point lead through the fourth quarter.

With 2:37 left, the Tornado missed a pair at the line. Bibs Felton grabbed the rebound and scored an and-one put back to go up 14.

Felton scored 12 of her game-high 14 points in the second half. She also had three steals and an assist.

"Bibs is a really good player, but sometimes Bibs needs to be a little more attack minded in the first half," Blowe said. "Not be so passive, not shy away from the ball at times."

Despite the difference in records, Frankfort put up a commendable effort in the first half. Trailing 14-7 after one quarter, the Falcons' defense held the Tornado to six points in the second quarter.

"Our plan was to make the other team beat us," Willison said. "We weren't gonna let Bibs touch the ball. It worked for three quarters, then we got tired. We weren't guarding her, she got the ball up top and scored."

Keyser went 9 of 30 from the field in the first half. It included a 2 of 22 shooting slump in the second quarter.

"We had one bounce around the rim three times I thought was falling," Blowe said. "We were getting quality looks, but 9 for 30 is tough. It's tough when you have 30 shots at halftime and you have 20 points, you know you're shooting a low percentage."

While Frankfort's defense kept them in the game, the offense struggled to provide the spark it needed for an upset.

The Falcons shot 5 of 18 from the field in the first half, but kept it a single-digit game for most of the half.

Frankfort set up an inbound with 4.8 seconds left in the half. Under their own basket, Adison Pritts passed to Madi Ruble who hit a layup to go into halftime down 20-13.

"I think I have some girls that can play, but they don't know how to win yet," Willison said. "They have to learn how to win close games. You know teams that always win that close game. I think it's a skill, you know what to do in certain situations."

Despite not playing their best first half, the Golden Tornado did enough to win.

"I asked the girls in the locker room, give us a grade," Blowe said. "They said a C, and everyone agreed. Our team overall tonight was a C. That shows me a lot of maturity and leadership."

On Tuesday the Falcons visit Hampshire while the Golden Tornado hosts Petersburg. Both games begin at 7:30.