Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

March 7, 2014

Panthers roar in regional final

BUCKLEY — Tim Reznich is hoping Frankfort can have a reunion with Nicole Marshall.

And history says the Panthers may very well do that.

No. 3-ranked Frankfort bolted out to an 18-3 first-quarter lead en route to a commanding 61-33 Class D regional championship win over No. 10 Bellaire. That win moves the Panthers into Tuesday quarterfinal in Cadillac against Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (18-4).

If they win that contest, the team will head to Michigan State University’s Breslin Student Events Center for the semifinals on Thursday, where Marshall is a graduate assists for the Spartans’ women’s basketball team.

“I’d love to be able to take a trip down to see Nicole sometime soon,” Frankfort coach Tim Reznich said. “Maybe next week, huh?”

Of course, the last two times Reznich and Marshall went to East Lansing, the Panthers came back with a state championship.

“That would be special,” Reznich said. “She can take me out to dinner this time. She knows the town better than I do now. First things first, though. We have to go to Cadillac.”

This is the Panthers’ seventh regional final trip in the last 12 years. And both previous times they won the regional trophy, that hardware morphed into a state championship not long after. That fact hasn’t gone unnoticed by Frankfort players.

“It’s definitely exciting,” said sophomore Mackenna Kelly, who led Frankfort with 24 points, including 14 of the team’s first 22. “We have realized that. We’re not stopping here.”

Frankfort (23-1) already had a 9-1 lead a few minutes into the game before Kelly went on a tear that completely broke the game wide open. She scored 14 of the team’s next 16 points, and a Shayla Soto 3-pointer made it 25-3 less than two minutes into the second quarter.

“We made our statement and took control there,” Reznich said of the first quarter.

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