The clash of two Sagamore Conference heavyweights was decided by Frankfort senior Nathan Wissman.
Wissman scored a game-high 22 points, including the final six of the game, to lead the ninth-ranked Hot Dogs past Lebanon 66-59 in the championship game of the Class 3A Frankfort Sectional in Case Arena.
“I knew there was no one on their team who could stay in front of me,” Wissman said. “I didn’t play very well in the first meeting against them, so I have a lot to prove and I wanted to prove myself.”
He did, scoring 13 points in the first half to help Frankfort shoot their way to a 30-21 lead. The Hot Dogs were 12 of 20 from the floor while holding Lebanon to 28 percent shooting (8 of 28).
The Tigers, who were seeking their 51st sectional title, weren’t going to go down without a fight. Lebanon scored the first nine points of the second half to tie the game at 30. Three different possessions, the Tigers had a chance to take the lead but failed to do so. By the end of the quarter, Frankfort led 37-34.
Wissman and Dakota Isgrigg took over in the fourth quarter. Wissman tossed in nine points and Isgrigg had six.
“When we started pounding the ball inside, it just does so much,” Frankfort coach Tom Weeks said. “It opened up the driving lanes, and we just started clicking. When they took runs we were able to weather them, and then we were able to extend that. I can’t say enough for the guys tonight.”
Frankfort managed to ice the game away at the foul line when Lebanon was forced to send the Hot Dogs to the line. At first glance, that seemed like a good strategy, as the Hot Dogs only hit 4 of 10 through the first three quarters.
However, the Hot Dogs hit nine of their first 11 free throws in the fourth quarter and built their biggest lead at 62-47 with 1:15 to play. For the quarter, Frankfort hit 15 of 22 from the line.
“We hit them when we had to,” Weeks said. “We are a better free throw shooting team than we showed for a while.”
The Hot Dogs will travel to the Greencastle Regional to battle Edgewood after winning their second straight sectional title and 48th overall.
So was this one better than last year’s?
“They are all fun,” Weeks said. “It just doesn’t get a lot better than this. This feeling never gets old.”
Isaac Rudd added 19 points and Isgrigg finished with 15 for Frankfort.
Lebanon was led by Caleb Brannon’s 20 points. Cord Barricklow added 12 before fouling out, and Jake Marshall tossed in 10.
Frankfort has now won 11 games in a row, and 15 of its last 16. The 11-game winning streak is the longest for the Hot Dogs since they won 18 in a row during the 1994-95 season.