North Bend’s visit to Ashland on Friday night turned into the Jayden Frank show.
Frank, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, heated up in a hurry and scored 24 of his game-high 34 points in the first half to lead visiting North Bend to a 58-44 win over the Ashland High boys basketball team in Midwestern League action at Mountain Avenue Gymnasium.
“With a player like (Frank), you have to limit his easy looks, you have to keep a hand up and stay in front of him — and unfortunately we didn’t do any of that,” said Ashland head coach Sam Osofsky, who once again was without the services of senior guard and leading scorer KJ Pippa due to injury. “KJ is our best defender, but we can’t focus on that. We need to, with this group, to find a way defensively. We had some plans coaching-wise that didn’t work out and against a player like that you can’t make mistakes.”
Frank scored over half of the Bulldogs points in the opening two quarters, helping North Bend (6-5 overall, 2-4 MWL) build a 37-27 lead going into halftime.
In total, Frank’s 34 points outscored the entire Grizzlies starting lineup on his own. He also hit four of North Bend’s seven 3-pointers in the game.
Ashland junior wing Gabe Ekwall finished with a team-high 11 points, while junior guard Anthony Smith had 10 points.
Both Ekwall and junior wing Lowell Saulsbury — who had nine points in the loss — hit three of the Grizzlies’ eight 3-pointers.
“We gave ourselves a chance in the second half with more energy and effort,” Osofsky said, “but, at the end of the day, we weren’t sharp enough and weren’t focused enough to make up for what we had given up in the first half.”
Ashland — which has now lost its last three games — heads out on the road for the first time this month when it travels up north to face North Eugene next Friday night.
“We just have to keep working on game plans, keep working on getting guys in the right spots offensively and defensively,” Osofsky said. “All of our goals are still in front of us, we just have to keep believing and keep working every day.”
NORTH BEND (58): G. Mateski 8, Messner 3, Frank 34, Simmons 5, Martin 4, Byers 0, Lynn 4, Christiansen 0, Porter 0. Totals: 21 9-12 58.
ASHLAND (44): Smith 10, Wallner-Sentle 4, Ekwall 11, Sanford 1, Saulsbury 9, Sayre 3, Carter 2, Desmond 4, Barnes 0, Lapierre 0. Totals: 16 4-7 44.
North Bend2017147— 58
3-point goals — North Bend 7 (G. Mateski 1, Messner 1, Frank 4, Simmons 1), Ashland 8 (Wallner-Sentle 1, Ekwall 3, Saulsbury 3, Sayre 1); Fouled out — Desmond.
JV score — North Bend 45, Ashland 42.
NORTH BEND 48, ASHLAND 45: At Ashland, Ashland wasn’t able to continue its season-long trend of playing strong in the second half, as the Grizzlies managed just 15 points after halftime in North Bend’s comeback win at Mountain Avenue Gymnasium.
The Grizzlies (5-7, 1-4), who were ahead by as much as 41-35 in the fourth quarter, had a pair of chances to tie the game on Jayd Sollinger 3-pointer attempts, but both tries rimmed out.
“It was a combination of things, but the No. 1 thing was the foul trouble with (Nina) Munson and (Kendyl) Abel,” Ashland coach Antione Perry said in regard to his team’s second-half struggles. “They had to sit for long periods of time and messed up our rotation and it was just a little off. Credit to North Bend, though, because they played tough D and made us work for it.”
Sollinger finished with a team-high 18 points, but Munson and Abel — the Grizzlies’ other two top scorers — only combined for six points in the game.
Jenna Altig — who along with Sollinger hit a pair of 3-pointers — had nine points.
North Bend senior guard Haley Snelgrove recorded a game-high 21 points, while senior post Hayden Markel added 10 points in the win for the Bulldogs (9-3, 4-2).
Ashland travels to North Eugene next Friday night. The Grizzlies have already faced the Highlanders this season, claiming a 58-41 win on Dec. 29 in tournament play at Crescent Valley.
NORTH BEND (48): Randle 0, Markel 10, Matthews 2, Porett 5, Cunningham 8, Snelgrove 21, Frank 2. Totals: 18 10-24 48.
ASHLAND (45): Altig 9, Wilson 2, Sollinger 18, Barnes 0, Larson 0, Munson 4, Witnauer 2, Rodriguez 8, Abel 2. Totals: 16 7-16 45.
North Bend1017714— 48
3-point goals — Ashland 4 (Altig 2, Sollinger 2); Fouled out — Munson.
JV result — North Bend won.
Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4483 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.