Christian Smith sparked a dominant second half and Frankfort opened the J&C Hoops Classic as 86-54 winners over Benton Central Monday night in Crawley Center.
Smith’s 23 points led the Class 3A No. 10 Hot Dogs, who advance to Friday’s semifinal against West Lafayette. The Bison play Central Catholic in Thursday’s consolation bracket.
Benton Central trimmed an early double-digit deficit to 35-27 by halftime, taking advantage of Dakota Isgrigg’s absence because of foul trouble. The Hot Dogs, though, reeled off an 18-6 run to open the third quarter and the Bison never threatened again.
Smith opened the period with three consecutive baskets, a 3-pointer and two mid-range jumpers. He ended up with 11 points in the quarter as the Hot Dogs took a 62-41 edge into the final period.
“We gave them too many offensive rebounds in the first half, but we locked down on defense in the second half,” said Smith, who also led the Hot Dogs with 12 rebounds. “In the second half, I think it was our fast break. My teammates were playing good defense and we were getting out on the fast breaks. It just happened to come my way this time. It was all within the game.”
Former Harrison forward Nate Wissman in his first game back in Lafayette, scored 15 points, followed by Isaac Rudd’s 13 and Isgrigg’s 11.
“It was pretty good being back knowing all of my friends and family were watching,” Wissman said. “Everyone was out here supporting me, so it went pretty well. Christian sparked us and after he sparked us we kept running with it.”
The Hot Dogs scored 51 points in the second half and shot 58.1 percent from the field (18 for 31). Benton Central struggled to find the range consistently, shooting 35.2 percent (19 for 54) for the game and 32.1 percent (9 for 28) in the second half.
“When we get it in the paint those shots come a lot easier,” Frankfort coach Tom Weeks said. “We needed to execute better and play better defense in the first half. That’s a nice young ball team Benton Central has and they did some great things out there tonight. They really took it to us in the second quarter.”
Without Isgrigg, who was saddled with two fouls after the first 4 ½ minutes of play, Frankfort struggled to maintain its momentum. Benton Central’s Brandon Rooze got the hot hand in the second quarter, scoring 11 of his 15 first-half points in that period. His 10-foot jumper with 20 seconds left helped cut the Hot Dogs’ halftime lead to eight.
Rooze finished with 23 points, followed by Jack Marquie’s 14 and Jacob Turner’s 13.
“We just got timid,” said Benton Central first-year coach Kyle Marlatt of the second half. “They hit a couple of shots and we put our heads down.”