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Franklin wins critical see-saw match at Independence

Becky Williams
Indy’s Deion Sims looks more like he’s tracking down a fumble in football than chasing a loose ball on the court as he sails over Franklin’s Mac McDonald.  Sims was in constant motion during the Eagles loss at home, scrapping for loose balls, playing pressure defense and scoring a game high 24-points on the night.

Zack Muir waited 31 minutes and 39 seconds to score his only points of the game, but the nearly uncontested lay-up gave Franklin a four-point lead and sealed a hard fought 58-53 win over Independence last night.
The victory evened the Rebels’ District 11-AAA record at 3-3, giving them a head-to-head advantage over the Eagles, who fell to 3-3 in the district.  Both are chasing Brentwood (5-0) and Ravenwood (5-1).
“That’s a big confidence builder for us,” said Franklin coach Jamie Wilson.  “Coach (Greg) Glass has them playing incredible basketball right now. They are playing really, really well.”
Independence proved Wilson’s point in the second quarter.  Trailing 18-13 at the end of the first, Deion Sims imposed his will on the game in fashion not seen recently in the county.  Sims drilled three straight three pointers in the first 75-seconds of the period, putting the Eagles ahead 22-20.  He added five more in the second, finishing the first half with 19 points and handing Indy a 34-27 half-time lead.
“He gives us that senior leadership,” said Glass of Sims.  “He’s a three year starter.  He really understands the game and he’s the first in the gym and the last one out and that shows in his performance.”
Wilson was a bit more succinct about Sims’ second quarter rampage.
“He just went nutso.”
Franklin turned up the defense in the second half.  After giving up 21 in the second quarter, the Rebels held Independence to just 19 total points in the second half while unleashing Garrison Mathews in the third quarter.
Mathews scored six of his team high 22 points in the third stanza while gathering in a large number of his 11 rebounds for the game.  Tanner Spalding had six points in the third as the outside play of Joe Critchlow, who netted four, opened up the inside, putting Franklin back in front 44-40 after twenty one minutes.
The lead changed hands five times in the fourth quarter as the contest see-sawed to the end.  As Franklin held Sims to 2-points for the quarter, Austin Osborn came off the bench to a pair of critical shots and Murphy Grayson added three free throws for the Eagles.  But Critchlow’s trey from the left wing with 54-seconds remaining put Franklin up for good, 55-53, with just under a minute to play.  Franklin forced a turn-over on a five-second call 20 seconds later, leading to Muir’s final nail in the coffin.
Critchlow ended the night with 13 points while Tanner Spalding added 12 points and 8 rebounds, shooting 5-of-6 from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
Sims ended the game as the high scoring, tallying 24 and Grayson added 10.
Franklin turns its attention to a rematch at home with Brentwood Friday night; Independence is off Friday before playing at home against non-district opponent Kenwood.
Girls-Franklin 54 Independence 34
The girls’ game was a prelude of what was to come, as Franklin jumped out to a nine-point lead early only to have Independence roar back for a 25-24 half-time lead behind the scoring of Avery Wharton, Katie Pierce and Gabby Wiggins.
What Franklin coach Kari Goodwin said in the locker room at half-time was not discussed, but it had a telling affect.  The Rebels held the Eagles to just two free throws in the third quarter, allowing Indy only four shots from the field.  At the same time, Franklin got their offense on track, pouring in 19-points on 6-of-nine shooting from the floor, including a pair of key three pointers by Meredith Ovies and Angela McPeek to open the third period.
The past paced, sometimes out of control game ended with both sides fighting a defensive battle in the fourth as Franklin protected a double-digit lead.  
For the contest, Indy turned the ball over 30 times and was whistled for 15 personal fouls, while Franklin committed 25 turnovers and was tagged with 21 personal fouls.
Wharton lead all scorers for the night with 15 points.  For Franklin, Rachael Hawn poured in 14 points and Anna Patton added 10.

Becky Williams
Franklin’s Meredith Ovies blocks the shot of Regan Croff during the Rebels 52-34 victory last night.  Ovies had 7 points to go with her defensive efforts.

Posted on: 1/15/2014


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