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Moorefield rallies late, stuns Frankfort 47-43

Feb. 2—SHORT GAP, W.Va. — There's a reason why high school basketball games are 32 minutes and four quarters long.

Despite trailing for the entire second and third quarters, and trailing by double figures in the second half, Moorefield rallied to stun Frankfort 47-43 on Thursday.

"I knew it was gonna be a battle," Moorefield head coach Jared Wratchford said. "I've played here, I've coached here the last 10 years. It's never an easy place to play for us. They came out and really dictated the tempo in the first half and we obviously struggled. I was glad to see the girls come alive in the second half."

Frankfort head coach Steve Willison said it came down to Moorefield's success with man-to-man defense in the second half.

"I think we have trouble controlling the ball," he said. "I don't know if it's skill, lack of playing time, what's the reason. We're OK running our offense and doing other things, but the man-to-man press is where we really struggled."

Trailing 26-14 at halftime, the Yellow Jackets (7-9) opened the second half with back-to-back steals and layups by Korbin Keplinger to cut the deficit to 26-18 with 6:52 left in the third quarter.

Keplinger finished with nine points, four steals and three assists.

Moorefield was called for a technical foul after a player on the bench complained about a call to the officials.

Maddi Ruble hit both technical free throws to push the lead back up to 10.

After the Jackets cut the deficit to five, the Falcons (3-14) extended the lead to nine points on an and-one layup by Adison Pritts off a Jillian Ault assist with 1:18 left in the quarter.

Ault led Frankfort with 12 points, three assists and a steal and Pritts scored five points with seven steals and two assists.

Trailing 32-24 entering the fourth, the Yellow Jackets slowly began chipping away.

Moorefield went on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to 34-32 with 4:41 left on a layup by Amber Williams off a CiCi Kump assist.

Williams and Kump were both key factors in the Yellow Jackets' comeback. Williams scored nine points while Kump went 5 of 6 at the line in the fourth quarter.

Williams finished with 14 points while Kump had eight, three assists and two steals.

"They've been putting a lot of work in, putting a lot of shots up," Wratchford said. "They're really starting to come along at the right time of the season."

After tying the game at 38 on a 3-pointer by McKenna Crites, who finished with nine points and three steals, the Yellow Jackets took the lead with 2:23 left.

Frankfort was then called for a technical foul for complaining with the officials. Kump split the free throws, giving Moorefield a 39-38 lead.

With 1:03 remaining, the Falcons were issued another technical foul for pushing a player driving to the rim.

"When you get two foul shots and you get the ball back, that's hard to take," Willison said. "You gotta know not to do these things. You foul someone and they go to the line, that's a four-point turnaround. That's hard to take and win when you do stuff like that."

Williams split the free throws, extending the lead to four points.

After a few more free throws pushed the Jackets lead to six, Frankfort cut it back to four on a long jumper by Kendall Kelly.

Kump responded with a pair of free throws to make it 47-41 with 40 seconds left.

Kelly hit a layup in the final seconds to make it a four-point game.

The Falcons started a bit slow, but ended the first quarter with six unanswered points to lead 12-7.

The first quarter was filled with turnovers on both sides. They combined for 15 with Frankfort committing eight and Moorefield seven.

"A lot of it was unforced," Wratchford said. "We gotta take care of the basketball better. We gotta learn to use our pass fakes more. Not throw it in the defender's hands, let them get deflections."

Leading 14-9 midway through the second after an Ault layup, The Falcons went on an 8-2 run to extend the lead to 22-11 with 2:17 left in the first half.

Frankfort led 26-14 at halftime despite shooting 37% from the field.

The Yellow Jackets also struggled, going 26% including only hitting 2 of 11 from 3-point range.

The majority of Moorefield's 3s weren't even close, resulting in either airballs or barely getting a piece of the backboard.

"We've been a streaky shooting team this year," Wratchford said. "The emphasis was to try and get the ball in the paint more. Tough to do with their size, but Amber was able to get in there and make some shots."

Lynsey Zimmerman finished with nine points, three steals and two assists for the Falcons.

Moorefield outscored Frankfort 33-19 in the second half and 23-12 in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback.

"We don't walk out of Frankfort with too many wins," Wratchford said. "I know they've struggled a bit this year, that's still a darn good team."

Frankfort hosts Parkersburg Catholic on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Moorefield is at Pendleton County on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Email him with scores and story suggestions at jkendall@times-news.com.