SEMINOLE — On a Thursday night full of big performances, Connor Frain’s was the biggest.
When red-hot Seminole point guard Marco Behori was taken out by North Port’s defense late in the fourth quarter, senior Tanner Cowan instead kicked the ball to Frain at the top of the key. The senior calmly drained a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left to send the Warhawks to a 60-57 victory, their second overall region win and their first on their homecourt.
Seminole (20-3) will host Palmetto, a 69-48 winner over East Lake, in the Class 7A region semifinals Tuesday.
“That shot at the end, that was pretty cool,” said Frain, who finished with 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting. “It was actually meant to go to Marco (18 points, five rebounds, five assists) but he had two guys on him. I was wide open so I had to shoot it. As soon as I shot it, I knew it was going in.”
Before his first career winning basket, the 6-foot-5 Frain made his mark at the top of a ballhawking 1-3-1 zone that turned an 11-point Bobcat lead into a 12-point Warhawk advantage late in the third quarter.
After what coach Josh Walker called “the worst first half he’s played all year,” junior T.J. Frounfelter hit his first three 3-point attempts of the second half. And Behori converted a pair of athletic layups and hit 10 of 12 free throw to turn the tide.
“He’s done it all year,” Walker said. “Every game he’ll do something that’ll make you say, ‘Who is that little kid?’ You’ll remember his number by the end of the night.”
Defense and aggressive work from junior Malek Barber, who scored 14 of his 18 points in the final eight minutes, drew North Port (20-6) even with 30 seconds left before Frain’s heroics.
“We worked hard all offseason for this,” Frain said. “Weight room at 7 a.m., two-a-days, summer leagues … we got a lot of reps in.
That’s all because of Coach Walker. I wouldn’t want to play for any other coach.”
Palmetto 69, East Lake 48: Jordan Young poured in 30 points and host Palmetto buried the East Lake offense. Young had 15 of Palmetto’s 23 first-half points that enabled the Tigers (22-5) to take a seven-point lead at the break. He scored 11 in the second quarter, which included three straight 3-pointers. East Lake (15-10) was hoping to beat the Tigers from beyond the arc, but Palmetto’s switching zone defense made things hard. The Eagles hit only one of 12 attempts in the first half and made only 5 3s out of 21 attempts for the game.
Information from the Herald was used in this report.