FRANKFORT — Revenge Week came to Kingsley.
The Stags avenged two losses in one week, beating Glen Lake 53-51 Wednesday and Frankfort 52-45 in Friday’s Northwest Conference girls basketball game at Frankfort.
“This was a pretty good week,” Kingsley senior point guard Chrissy Whims said. “It felt really good beating them. I knew that we were better than what we played before.”
Kingsley (13-5, 9-1 Northwest) needs some help to catch the conference-leading Glen Lake Lakers, whom the Stags trail by one game and don’t face again this season. But getting a win against both the Lakers and Panthers in the span of three days is a good start.
Frankfort (11-5, 5-5 Northwest) had won eight of its last nine, including avenging a home loss to Benzie Central by winning 35-26 Wednesday at Benzie.
Prior to reeling off five consecutive victories, the Stags dropped four of six to start off January.
“We were just on the struggle bus in January,” Kingsley head coach Matt Schelich said. “We couldn’t do anything wrong in December. The first couple weeks of January, it’s like, ‘Oh, man, it’s like we’re back to the drawing board here.’”
Part of that was being young, with two sophomores starting and two freshmen seeing regular minutes. Time in games and practice helped that a lot.
“In January, we really got in our heads a lot,” said Whims, who had eight points and dished out a bunch of assists. “Toward the end of January, we really focused on building good mindsets, and that really helped bring confidence.”
Stags sophomore forward Emilee Robinson scored a game-high 19 points Friday.
One of Robinson’s buckets stood out to Schelich, on a long inbound pass near midcourt.
“Two girls converged on the ball, and she reached back on the run, tipped it over the girl to herself and made a left-handed layup,” Schelich said. “That was one of the better plays I’ve seen. The kid’s a hell of an athlete.”
Kingsley’s offense came and went with Whims, who battled foul trouble the first three quarters and played the entire fourth with four fouls.
When she was on the court, the Stag offense hummed much better. When she sat, Frankfort’s full-court press sank its teeth in.
Kingsley led by 15 in the second quarter before a 10-3 Frankfort run to end the half pulled the Panthers within eight at 29-21.
Powered by eight third-quarter points from senior Evelyn VanTol, Frankfort pulled within five on VanTol’s putback with 3:48 left in the third. Robinson scored six points to close out the third, including a coast-to-coast layup, and the Panthers went into the final eight minutes up 42-35.
With Whims back on the court in the fourth quarter, Kingsley’s lead surged back to double figures as Grace Lewis hit three buckets in the first six minutes. Frankfort scored the game’s final five points, all on free throws.
VanTol and Panthers sophomore Addison Chownyk were a fierce combo inside, combining for 30 points and 14 rebounds. Chownyk added seven steals by herself, sophomore Willa Roth scored eight points, and junior Savina Anhalt pitched in six points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Elle Rommell dished out five assists.
“She does everything right,” Frankfort head coach Tim Reznich said of Rommell. “She sees the court so well, both offensively and defensively, and she puts herself in the right position. She’s one of the smallest kids on the court, but she’s a great rebounder. Scoring is not a big part of her game, but she does all the little stuff for us.”
Reznich said Whims is similar for Kingsley.
“Same kind of player,” Reznich said. “Chris, she scores more, and she did a great job with four fouls staying in the game. We probably could have attacked her a little bit better to try and get that fifth. With her not on the court, they’re a different team. She’s that tough.”
Frankfort did most of its damage inside with VanTol, Chownyk and Anhalt. The Panthers were 0-for-12 from 3-point land and 13-for-25 at the line.
“Our girls always play hard,” Reznich said. “They played hard enough tonight to win the game. But great teams finish, and we just didn’t finish tonight. They did. They were better than we were tonight. Plain and simple.”
The game was also a bit of a goodbye. It was the last time the two teams will face each other as conference opponents, with Kingsley joining the newly-formed Northern Shores Conference next school year.
The league’s two longest-tenured coaches — Schelich at Kingsley for 26 years and Reznich with Frankfort for 23 — were sad to see that rivalry come to an end, although they could play each other in non-league games down the road.
“It is weird,” Schelich said. “We’ve had probably 50 battles. Whether somebody is in first place or last place, it’s always been good, hard, tough games.”
Schelich said he drove early to Frankfort and sat in Reznich’s classroom as the two talked for a good hour. During warm-ups, they chatted about fishing.
“I’ve always loved having them in the league because Matt’s always had great teams,” Reznich said. “We’ve had some incredible battles over the years. I’m gonna miss that. I always appreciated how competitive his teams were and looked forward to that challenge. I’m going to miss not having Kingsley in the conference.”
Kingsley travels to Onekama on Wednesday. The Panthers visit Suttons Bay the same evening.
FRANKFORT — Revenge Week came to Kingsley.