TRAVERSE CITY — Frankfort ended a 37-year drought last March when it won a Class D regional here.
Now the Panthers are going for back-to-back regional titles — a feat the boys have never accomplished.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” center David Loney said.
The Panthers (18-6) reached the title game with a 70-51 win over Northwest Conference rival Suttons Bay in the nightcap of Monday’s doubleheader at Traverse City Central. Au Gres (15-6) beat Boyne Falls 60-50 in the opener.
The title game will be Wednesday.
Frankfort never trailed in beating the league champion Norsemen. The Panthers ended the first quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 15-4 lead. It was 26-16 at half and 42-32 after three.
Suttons Bay pulled to within five in the third quarter, but foul trouble plagued the Norsemen, who committed 27 fouls in the game, most in the second half.
“That’s been our game all year,” Suttons Bay coach Ron Anderson said. “We’re aggressive on D. We try to make something happen out of our defense. The flip side is you get the other end. The other end is fouls.”
Brandon Schaub led the Panthers with 26 points. Loney added 20 and Kole Hollenbeck 10.
Sophomore Travis Petroskey paced the Norsemen (18-5) with 14 points. Logan Mikesell contributed 11.
Frankfort, which played man-to-man in two losses to Suttons Bay during the regular season, came out in a 1-2-2 zone and it worked.
“Our goal was to keep (Aaron) Orban off the boards,” Schaub said. “He had 21 on us the last time.”
Orban finished with seven points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. Mikesell was held to three points through the first three quarters.
“We wanted to limit their rebounding and inside scoring,” Frankfort coach Reggie Manville said. “I think the zone did that, forcing them to take some shots that maybe they weren’t as comfortable taking.”