CADILLAC — It’s a play Frankfort practices every day, but had to yet to use this season.
The Panthers used it Tuesday night and it produced a dramatic 47-44 win over Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart in a Class D basketball quarterfinal at Cadillac.
Frankfort, 20-6, will now play two-time defending state champion Southfield Christian in a semifinal Thursday evening at Michigan State’s Breslin Center.
The Panthers were on the brink of elimination Tuesday, trailing Sacred Heart by seven with about two and half minutes remaining. But a 12-2 run to close the game propelled Frankfort to its first Final Four since 1969.
Senior Brandon Schaub scored the game-winner, taking an in-bounds pass end to-end, converting a layup, and drawing a foul with 5.4 seconds left. His free throw provided the final three-point margin.
“It’s our end of the game play,” Schaub said. “We’ve had it all year. We just haven’t used it yet. It’s really just about getting the ball and taking it to the rack (basket). It worked out.”
The play is designed to give Schaub options. But once he got a screen from Mason Loney, Schaub broke to the basket.
“Once Schaub turned the corner I knew he was going to the basket,” Panthers coach Reggie Manville said. “That’s what we wanted him to do — go hard to the rim and have the others crash for a second shot (if needed).
All-State center David Loney, who scored a game-high 22 points, was a decoy on the play.
“I had the somewhat hot hand,” Loney said. “But we had four other players on the court that can score.”
Schaub finished with 13 points, all in the second half.
Sacred Heart, utilizing its two 6-6 posts in Brooks Hyble and Kevin Gamble to advantage, took a 42-35 lead with under three minutes to play.