Basketball notes: Frankamp fever keeps North busy
Home basketball game days for North athletic director Brian Becker are always hectic. There’s all the usual stuff, then he has to answer at least five calls a day from fans concerned about getting a seat to watch Conner Frankamp play.
“We’ve had a lot more interest,” Becker said. “We’re kind of at a point where we’re projecting with every game that we’ll sell out. We know people want to come see Conner. They want to come for that fact alone, not just the fact that our team is being successful.”
Frankamp is a huge draw even when North (4-0) is playing away from home. He’s one of the best scorers to ever come through Wichita. He has scored 1,779 total points, third in City League history.
Frankamp has signed with Kansas and was an All-State selection as a junior.
“Mostly the questions are, ‘When should I show up? What if I need to reserve my spot?’ ” Becker said. “No, you have to get here before everyone else or you lose your seat.”
The best time to arrive at North, which seats 1,210, is at about 6:30 p.m. North is building a new gym that will seat about 2,500.
Becker hasn’t received too many odd requests, but one referee working his first varsity City League game did ask for Frankamp’s autograph to commemorate the experience.
North plays host to Southeast on Friday night. Girls game starts at 6 p.m., boys at about 7:30.
Expected beginning — Valley Center’s girls are 4-0 heading into Friday’s game with visiting Andover Central (3-1), and this is what coach Daniel Smith expected.
Getting to this point, though, wasn’t easy.
Valley Center’s last winning season was 2005-06, when the Hornets finished 11-10. Smith, in his fourth season, was 10-32 in his first two seasons with the Hornets, 10-11 in 2011-12.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re trying to build something, especially when starting with younger kids,” Smith said. “…These kids have been playing lots of minutes since their sophomore year. We have a senior-heavy team now with some depth behind them and juniors and even a couple freshmen who get the opportunity to play.”
In the past two seasons, Valley Center has had one senior. The Hornets had two in Smith’s first season.
Valley Center has had multiple players lead in scoring, including reserve Madison Anderson, Megan Barnes and Taylor Johnson. But Smith would like some consistency.
“It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if we developed someone who can score 15, 20 points every game,” Smith said.
A welcome change — Too many times during the 2011-12 season, the El Dorado boys were on the losing end of close games.
“We took Buhler to overtime both times we played them last year and found a way not to win the game,” El Dorado coach Gary Melcher said. “We had more than two games last year that we were in it going into the fourth quarter, with the lead or we could overcome the opponent’s lead, and most of those games went the other way for us.”
Not this season.
El Dorado won its opener 48-47 over Sacred Heart, then won its next two games in the Chapman tournament by a combined 40 points. The Wildcats beat Buhler 41-40 on Tuesday night. It was the first time El Dorado’s current players have beaten Buhler.
“Starting out the season gaining the belief that we can win close games certainly isn’t going to hurt us any,” said Melcher, whose team has allowed 38.3 points.
In the past four years, El Dorado has won 25 games.
“You always hope that you continue to get better as a program,” Melcher said. “… So far we’ve lived right, I guess.”
Travis House, Trevor Crain and Jared Haury, who are averaging between 9.5 and 11.8 points, were named to the Chapman all-tournament team.
“They’re not the only ones producing for us,” Melcher said. “We got a big game from John Scott (against Buhler) and Aaron Riffel has been playing well for us, so has Sam Haines.”