Matt Loney scores 18 including the game-winner as Frankfort ends McBain's long winning streak with a 53-48 victory
Frankfort – The state tournament is four weeks away and Frankfort gained some confidence on Monday for what the Panthers hope to be a successful run come March.
Frankfort (11-1), ranked No. 4 in Class D, ended McBain’s 59-game regular season winning streak with a 53-48 victory in a nonleague game at Frankfort.
McBain (13-1), which reached the state semifinals in 2016, entered the game ranked No. 6 in Class C and the last time the Ramblers lost during the regular season was Feb. 13, 2015, to Leroy Pine River, 77-58, at McBain.
Veteran coach Reggie Manville is in his seventh season as Frankfort’s head coach and this was the first time one of his Frankfort’s teams has defeated McBain after five losses.
Matt Loney is one of five seniors in Frankfort’s starting lineup and his basket with 3:12 left tied the game at 46-46. Ten seconds later another basket by Loney gave the Panthers a 48-46 lead.
Garrett VerBerkmoes, the lone junior in McBain’s starting lineup, made two free throws with 2:52 remaining to knot the score a 48-48.
Loney scored what proved to be the winning basket with 1:22 left off of a fine assist by Griffin Kelly.
“We put that play in a week ago,” Manville said. “I was watching a college game and decided to work on it in practice.”
Loney made a free throw with 14.1 seconds left and Jaylon Rogers made two free throws with 3.9 seconds left to end the scoring.
“It’s unbelievable,” Loney said. “We’re just thankful to get this opportunity having such a good team come to our place. We’re on top of the world.
“We figured it we picked up the tempo and get some stops we could get some easy baskets. They’re very patient offensively and they like to shoot the threes.”
Frankfort led 31-24 at halftime before McBain made its run in the third quarter. The Ramblers held Frankfort to six points in the third and took a 40-37 lead with eight minutes to play. Their largest lead was 46-40 and then Frankfort made its run.
“Coach said the games are full of run,” Loney said. “We just had to stop their run. Any win is good but this one is a really good one.”
Loney led Frankfort with 18 points. Griffin and Kelly each added 12.
Nicolas Rodenbaugh scored 24 points for McBain and Seager Wiltzer added 15.
“We were down by 11 points to (Traverse City) St. Francis and came back to win,” Manville said. “So I knew we could come back.”
Frankfort defeated St. Francis, 57-56, on Dec. 7.