By Joe Williams, Sports Editor
Franklin hopes to keep both Ben Hagaman (52) and Garrison Mathews (24) in the offensive flow tomorrow night at home against Brentwood. Bruin coach Dennis King says his team will have keep the pair in check if Brentwood is to remain undefeated in District 11-AAA.
Tomorrow night would be a bad choice to be fashionably late for the Brentwood at Franklin games. Both the boys and girls games will be important not just to seeding for the district tournament, but the rivalry has returned to one of the county’s oldest, sometimes most intense series.
A potentially overflow crowd is expected early, as the district-leading Lady Bruins (16-1, 5-0) could all but clinch the district title with a win over the young, upstart Lady Rebels (10-6, 5-1) whose lone district setback came at the hands of Brentwood in December, 47-31. A Franklin win would leave the two battling the rest of the district to maintain the top spot heading into tournament time.
The Bruins will look to the district’s leading scorer, Jenny Roy, to spark an offense that has half-dozen weapons on any given night, including Olivia Shealy, Jessi Boozer, Hannah-Catherine Lackey and Marissa Anthony. Franklin, coming off an emotional win at Independence Tuesday night, will counter with Anna Patton, Meredith Ovies and Rachael Hawn.
On the boys side, Franklin (7-10, 3-3) sits two and-a-half games behind leader Brentwood (19-1, 5-0), including a 55-48 loss at Brentwood last month, where the Rebels gave up a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Bruin coach Dennis King, who has seen his share of the battles in this rivalry, says he is looking forward to the rematch.
“Franklin is always a special atmosphere. Our kids will be out in force and it’s always more fun being dropped behind enemy lines.”
Despite his humor, there is a tenor of concern from King, whose team has adapted to nearly every challenge this season. He knows Franklin presents some unique challenges for the Bruins.
“(Ben) Hagaman always plays well against us. We can’t match his inside strength. (Garrison) Mathews is a big and dangerous threat as well.”
The Bruins got a night off Tuesday after a frenetic and hard fought win at Ravenwood last Friday night. King says the extra rest helped his team decompress from one rivalry game and, “gear up for another stern test.”
The Rebels should be glad to get back home, riding a two-game district winning streak, including a physically brutal last-minute win at Independence Tuesday night.
“They (Brentwood) are playing well,” said Franklin coach Jamie Wilson. “And they are shooting the ball well and that puts a lot of pressure on our defense. Hopefully, we can bring the same intensity, the same effort that we did in the first game. We’re not going to surprise them with anything this time.”
The Rebels will have to find a way to control Andy Schumpert and Jacob Adcock down low while still keeping pressure on Jalen Lawson, James McPherson and Jack Bautista on the perimeter.
The girls’ contest tips at 6 p.m. on Hillsboro Road, with the boys’ game to follow.
Franklin will have to find a way to keep Brentwood’s Jalen Lawson (20) from both scoring and passing tomorrow night if the Rebels hope to tag the Bruins with their first district loss of the year.
Posted on: 1/16/2014