Brody Kirby stood at the free throw line confident, surrounded by four West Lafayette players who hoped the pressure of the situation would get to the Hot Dogs’ junior point guard.
With 15.9 seconds remaining and Frankfort leading 63-60, the Red Devils thought their emotions won out. Kirby’s front end of a one-and-bonus hit the back iron and bounced in the air as all four Red Devils collapsed to grab the rebound.
Kirby stayed calm at the line as the ball dropped through the net off the bounce, then sank three more attempts to seal a 67-62 victory at Case Arena.
“It was a little nerve-racking,” said Kirby, who finished with 13 points. “I have confidence in my free throws. I’ve missed a lot this year that I shouldn’t have, but I thought those were going to go in.”
The Hot Dogs (11-4) overcame a slow start, foul trouble for their 6-foot-7 center and a huge night offensively by WL senior Justus Stanback to snap West Lafayette’s six-game winning streak and beat the Red Devils for the second time this season.
“It’s real hard to come out and beat a team twice in one season, especially a team like West Side which is obviously very good,” Kirby said. “It meant a lot to our team and built us some confidence.”
Frankfort missed its first 13 shots and watched the Red Devils jump to a 9-2 lead.
With Dakota Isgrigg sidelined with two quick fouls, Jacob Barnes and Chris Seibert combined for nine points off the bench in the second quarter to keep the Hot Dogs afloat. Barnes finished with eight points and five rebounds.
“Our balanced scoring tonight was great, but our bench scoring was tremendous,” Frankfort coach Tom Weeks said. “When Barnesy can give you that kind of offense, it is a good night. He and Seibert did a tremendous job during that stretch.”
Stanback, who struggled in a Nov. 30 loss to Frankfort in the J&C Hoops Classic, scored 20 of his 30 points in the second half. Stanback made 4 of 9 3-pointers and all six of his free throw attempts.
Stanback’s 3 tied the game at 43 with 6:35 to go and Tory Eger pushed the Red Devils ahead with his only points of the night, sinking a 3-pointer. Brian Bangs scored 11 and Nai Carlisle 10 for WL (12-4).
“It’s always terrible to get the loss,” Stanback said. “I don’t think it matters how much I scored. We still lost.”
Isgrigg, playing with four fouls in the fourth quarter, secured his first rebound with four minutes remaining when his putback broke a 50-50 tie.
Isgrigg finished with 10 points in the final quarter and 12 overall. Isaac Rudd scored 13 and Christian Smith added nine points and 12 rebounds for Frankfort, which outrebounded the Red Devils 37-22.
With the Hot Dogs trying to run clock, William Mbongo got a steal and was fouled on a layup attempt. The junior missed a pair of free throws that could have pulled WL within two with 1:23 to go. Isgrigg scored on the other end to push the lead to six.
“One team made plays when they had to and one team didn’t, to be frank about it,” WL coach Dave Wood said. “I think it is two pretty good teams. They are obviously very good. We didn’t lose tonight because we didn’t show up.”