The bright lights of Rupp Arena didn't bother Frankfort as it raced past Sayre 77-50 in a boys' basketball matchup in the Racing to the Rim Showcase Sunday afternoon.
Frankfort senior Doriyan Frazier said having played a pre-season scrimmage on UK's homecourt in late November helped the Panthers be relaxed this time around.
"When we came in here the first time, we were like, 'We can't believe we're playing in Rupp,' but after that we got rid of the butterflies," he said. "We weren't nervous today. We just had fun."
Frankfort Coach Tony Wise agreed that having played in Rupp a few weeks ago gave his team an edge on Sayre.
"The first time we played here we had some kids with a deer-in-the-headlights look," Wise said. "We didn't have that today, so there's no question that was a big advantage for us."
Frankfort looked at ease from the get-go as it hit four three-pointers in the first quarter. The Panthers pulled away in the third quarter, with its defense forcing eight turnovers to help stretch the lead to 52-37.
"It snowballed from there," Sayre Coach Ted Hall said.
Aaron Jackson, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, led Frankfort with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Dariyan Frazier had 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Doriyan Frazier added nine points and four assists.
As comfortable as Frankfort looked on the big stage, Sayre looked that ill-at-ease even though there were only a couple hundred fans in the stands.
"It's such a different deal playing in here, we were concerned about how our kids would handle it," Spartans Hall said. "Now we know.
"But regardless of whether Frankfort played here before, they played great. They got great looks, rebounded well and played good defense."
Hall was most disappointed in Sayre's 24 turnovers that Frankfort converted into 32 points. "I thought we'd handle the ball a lot better," he said.
The Panthers' defense also did a nice job on Sayre sophomore star Mike Smith. The 5-9 guard, who averaged 31 points in his first three games, was limited to 13.
Ray Brewer had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Cabot Haggin also had 10 points.
"I hope our kids can look back on this as a positive deal and that they enjoyed playing on this floor," Hall said.
"We'll clean up the rest of the stuff in practice."
Wise, in his second year as Frankfort's coach, hopes the Panthers can build on their feel-good victory.
This is a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2005.
"I really liked the effort we gave in the second half," Wise said. "We were making the hustle plays and we did a great job on the glass.
"If we can keep playing like that, maybe this can be a springboard to something good."
FRANKFORT (2-3) -- Do. Frazier 4-16 0-0 9, Gilkey 3-9 0-0 8, Jackson 8-12 3-4 20, Da. Frazier 7-12 0-0 16, Jones 0-6 0-0 0, Reed 3-6 2-6 8, Quincy 0-3 0-0 0, Perry 2-4 1-2 6, Floyd 3-5 0-0 6, Lamott 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 32-75 6-12 77.
SAYRE (2-2) -- Smith 5-15 2-7 13, Haggin 4-6 2-7 10, Brewer 5-9 0-2 10, Miller 2-3 2-2 6, Patterson 0-2 1-2 1, Freeman 3-8 0-0 7, McCulloch 1-1 1-2 3, O'Rourke 0-1 0-0 0, Park 0-2 0-0 0, Courtney 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-49 8-22 50.
Frankfort 13 19 20 25—77
Sayre 11 15 11 13—50