Photo by Lori PoteetGrant Gayler scored 18 in his final game as a North Montgomery Charger.
Photo by Lori Poteet

Grant Gayler scored 18 in his final game as a North Montgomery Charger.

FRANKFORT - North Montgomery's basketball season came to abrupt end Saturday evening thanks to the hot hand of the Frankfort Hot Dogs. The Hot Dogs hit 51 percent of their field goals, including 61 percent, 11-of-18, from beyond the arc to upend the Chargers, 71-64.

The Chargers shot the ball well themselves. They shot 54 percent, 26-48, but they were just 28 percent from distance, 5-18.

"We didn't come into tonight expecting them to hit 11 threes, and hit 61 percent from the 3-point line," said Charger coach Joel Grindle. "It's a pretty tough pill to swallow when they shoot that well."

The Hot Dogs were able to gain the advantage in the first quarter, thanks to a late 3-pointer from Luis Medina, to take a 20-17 lead. Caleb Randolph had nine to pace North.

The two teams traded baskets, and the lead, throughout much of the second. The Chargers were able to gain a 2-point advantage, on free throws by Baylee Adams, with under 0:15 to go. However, a baseline jumper by Hot Dog Center, Carter Taylor, at the buzzer, knotted things at 34.

North shot 59 percent from the field in the first half compared to Frankfort's 48. The Hot Dogs were a blistering, 6-of-11, or 55 percent from distance.

Frankfort opened the second half on a 6-0 run, and were able to extend the lead to 10, their largest of the game, at the 3:50 mark of the quarter. However, Caleb Randolph would help the Chargers end on a 9-5 run to close the game to 51-45 headed to the fourth.

"Caleb Randolph was phenomenal tonight" added Grindle. "He kept us in the game when we couldn't get anything going with his shooting.

When we got in trouble, he started scoring again," continued Grindle. "You couldn't ask for a better effort from him. We're excited he'll be around another couple years."

The fourth saw the Hot Dogs had an eight point lead with 2:20 remaining. Two huge threes from Grant Gayler, on assists from Caleb Randolph, allowed North to cut the lead to two, 63-61, with just over 1:30 remaining.

However, the Hot Dogs would hit 8-of-10 from the charity stripe down the stretch to close the game out. North Montgomery was whistled for 16 fouls in the final quarter while Frankfort only committed six.

"Give us credit," said Grindle, "With all their hot shooting, we had to it down to two with 90 seconds to go. Their kids just made the plays, and we didn't."

The Hot Dogs finished with four in double figures. Medina led the way with 18. Taylor finished with 15. Jarrod Smith had 12, all in the second half, and Cody Bray had 10. Taylor and Smith led them in rebounding with eight and seven respectively.

North Montgomery, which finishes its season at 14-10, were led by Caleb Randolph's 29. Grant Gayler, in his final game as a Charger, finished with 18, 10 in the fourth. Baylee Adams led the Chargers with six rebounds. Owen Randolph dished out three assists.

"Our kids battled to the end. I'm proud of the effort," added Grindle.

Friday was the last game for seniors Austin Donahue, Elijah Dugard, Gayler and Owen Randolph. "Our seniors have made such a great impact on our program. What they've done, you can't ask much more than that. They've validated the stuff that we've done. They've made us relevant where we could play into a big game like this with this atmosphere and crowd."

Frankfort (10-14) advances to tomorrow's championship game against Lebanon (8-15), which was a 59-45 winner over Western Boone.