Posted by Max Harden on March 12th, 2019
CADILLAC — With 0.1 second remaining in the game, Frankfort’s Jack Stefanski went to the free throw line with his team trailing Crossroads Charter Academy 43-41.
Stefanski sunk the first free throw and missed the second free throw, clinching a one-point victory for the Cougars. Or so it seemed.
Officials declared a controversial lane violation against CCA and Stefanski hit the redo to send the game into overtime. In a game that featured more twists and turns than an episode of Game of Thrones, Frankfort held on to win 53-51 in the Division 4 state quarterfinal.
The loss snaps the Cougars’ 21-game win streak and ends their season with a 23-2 record.
“We said all along to not put this game in the officials’ hands and we did,” head coach Julian Castillo said. “That’s basketball. Give Frankfort credit, they fought. But we did too and I’m so proud of our guys.”
The Cougars found themselves in a 9-2 hole to start the game and trailed 14-4 after the first quarter. But like they’ve done so many times this season, the Cougars made a response of their own. CCA outscored Frankfort 23-11 in the second quarter with a Britton Angell floater giving the Cougars a 27-25 halftime lead.
“We’re no stranger to adversity,” he said. “We didn’t take a timeout because we knew we’d compose ourselves.”
CCA was able to carry the momentum from the first half into the second half. The Cougars limited the Panthers to just three points in the third quarter and scored 10 of their own to take a 37-28 lead into the fourth.
Angell found a cutting Isaac Slomp for a basket to give CCA its largest lead of the game at 39-28 early in the fourth but the Panthers would not go away. Frankfort outscored the Cougars 15-6 in the fourth to send the game into overtime.
Frankfort led by as many as seven in overtime before two Angell 3-pointers trimmed their lead to 53-51 with two seconds to go. The Cougars had the ball with less than a second remaining and a chance to tie or take the lead but their halfcourt pass was intercepted.
“We were up by 10 and then we made some crucial turnovers,” he said. “We were forcing things. But we made it a two-point game at the end. I’m sure most people thought we were done but we made it a game.
“I told the boys that in life, sometimes you work hard and things won’t go your way.”
Angell had a game-high 29 points to outduel Frankfort’s Stefanski who had 28. Slomp had 12 for the Cougars and Jackson Wickes tallied eight points while Carlson added two.
The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for a team with dreams of a state championship. CCA graduates seven seniors in Angell, Wickes, Carlson, Davis, Ryan Haner, Matthew Begeman, and Keegan McKinnon. Slomp will return as the lone starter from this year’s group.
“These seniors have set the bar for years to come,” he said. “They’ve left a legacy and have nothing to be ashamed of. They have everything to be proud of.”