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6A boys: City League champ North bows in low-offense loss

Published March 6 at 10:11 p.m. | Last updated March 7 at 10:30 a.m.

When Conner Frankamp’s final shot as a North Redskin dropped through the basket, there was no elation. Rather, there was disbelief.

Frankamp didn’t make a shot in the game’s final nine minutes, and that final three? It was waved off. After the buzzer.

Frankamp’s career ended in a 41-35 quarterfinal loss to Blue Valley West in the Class 6A tournament.

“I thought we had a really good chance to win tonight,” Frankamp said. “We didn’t play very good and didn’t make very many shots, and I played terrible myself. I give a lot of the loss to myself. I wish I could replay it.”

It was a disappointing finish for North, which came in as the No. 2 seed and won the City League title.

“We felt like this is our year,” North coach Gary Squires said. “… We had Conner coming back, finishes his senior year strong. It just didn’t happen.”

Frankamp, who has signed with Kansas, missed 9 of 13 shots, 8 of 11 three-point tries and his only free-throw attempt.

“I thought a lot of those shots were going in,” Frankamp said. “They all looked really good to me. I would have bet a lot of money they were going in. But they didn’t.

“I just didn’t play a good game at all tonight.”

North’s other two losses came at the season’s midpoint, when Frankamp was out with a concussion suffered at the Dodge City tournament.

Coming into the Class 6A tourney, he averaged 31.2 points and he holds the City League scoring record of 2,275.

BV West used a box-and-one defense, putting Conley Wilkins on Frankamp for the majority of the game.

“We wanted to get the ball out of his hands,” BV West guard Connor Kaiser said. “That was our No. 1 goal. Wherever he was, we wanted two guys on him. We wanted their other guys to beat us.”

North junior Zach Beard had 10 points, while Tarius Williams and Beau Shockley had five. North made 12 of 37 shots.

And if Frankamp drove past Wilkins, another player, or two, were there to defend play tight defense.

“I had open shots,” Frankamp said. “They doubled me most of the night, but I still had pretty good looks. I just missed them.”

North opened the third quarter with a six-point lead but sat back in a stall before a missed Frankamp three with 4:20 to go in the period. The pace never quickened, even as BV West drew within 27-26 at the end of the period.

“We had the lead (in the third),” Squires said. “We just said, ‘We’re going to run the clock out and go for one shot.’ ”

The Redskins preferred to attack the lane all season, pulling up for jumpers by Frankamp, Williams or Beard, or going all the way to the basket.

It didn’t happen Wednesday, though.

“They were playing that box-and-one and doubling, so we didn’t get too many open looks,” Frankamp said. “They werse pretty long and lanky.”

With the score tied at 35-all with 2:22 to go, North went into a stall again.

“Wanted to make sure everybody was in their right areas, run a good set for Conner, knock it down and get out of here,” Squires said.

But the Redskins didn’t get a shot off because with 1:13 to go, Kaiser stole the ball as Beard dribbled on the right wing.

Kaiser passed ahead to Ryan Ralston for the go-ahead basket.

“I was just getting ready to call that one timeout,” Squires said. “I looked out there, and we lost the ball. Turned it over. Big turnover.”

On North’s next possession, Frankamp missed a three from the right wing with 15 seconds remaining and BV West made two free throws for a four-point lead.

“I thought we had a great team, a team good enough to win state,” Frankamp said. “It just didn’t happen for us…. We had a good lead and we started off pretty good.

“But we couldn’t finish. Just couldn’t finish.”

Check Joanna Chadwick’s high school sports blog at blogs.varsitykansas.com. Reach her at 316-268-6270 or jchadwick@wichitaeagle.com.