FRANK’S SHOOTOUT: York Institute Boys Earn Championship Following 65-48 Victory Over DeKalb County; Jackson Conatser Named MVP

By Michael Lindsay


A perfect 3-0 run in the 2023 Frank’s Shootout for the York Institute Dragons wrapped up Thursday afternoon as they defeated DeKalb County, 65-48.

The victory locked up the championship for the Dragons, who had the best overall record in boys competition at 3-0.

“It was good for us,” said York Institute head coach Rodney Pile. “We’ve had some conditioning issues trying to get the guys in shape. Our football team did a great job and went deep in the playoffs. When we got them back, Bryson (Bilbrey) was sick that first week and Myles (Leffew) has been trying to heal up. These three games were good for us to get back rolling.”

York Institute guard Jackson Conatser was named Frank’s Shootout MVP for his performance over three days including 19 points in Wednesday’s 59-49 win over White County.

“Jackson had a really good game (against White County),” Pile said. “When you’re playing White County in Sparta, they don’t lose too many games down here. Jackson shot the ball well and did a great job.”

Heath Wattenbarger led the Dragons in Thursday’s game against DeKalb County as the forward posted 27 points along with 13 by Bryson Bilbrey.

“DeKalb has nice team; they’re feisty,” Pile said. “That first possession, they kept it for about two minutes right off the back. I was a big advocate for a shot clock right then. They showed good patience; it’s hard to play defense that long. Hats off to them.”

York held a 14-13 advantage after one period. The Dragons grew their advantage in the second quarter as a pair of Wattenbarger free throws late in the frame put his team ahead by 10 points, 33-23. York Institute led 35-26 at halftime.

DeKalb County cut their deficit to 7 points (40-33) late in the third quarter before the Dragons pushed their lead back to double figures by the end of the frame at 44-33.

The Tigers would get no closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Dragons held on to win by a 65-48 final margin.

York Institute improves to 5-5 overall while DeKalb County falls to 7-6.

DeKalb County is off until the new year while York Institute is set to face Loretto in the Music City Hoopfest at Page High School on Thursday, Dec. 28.


York Institute (65): Heath Wattenbarger 27, Bryson Bilbrey 13, Andrew Hall 6, Jackson Conatser 5, Will Beaty 4, Myles Leffew 4, Broc Parker 3, Carter Gibson 1