Second half run leads Franklin over Independence
By Joe Williams, Sports Editor
For Franklin forward Garrison Mathews, it seemed like the same song, different game: a slow start in an important tight game. He added a third and fourth verse to that song in the second half, scoring 13 second half points to lead the Rebels (12-13, 7-5) to a 51-41 win over Independence (12-14, 7-5) and a third place finish in the District 11-AAA regular season.
“I was just trying to not let my emotions get to me,” said the soft spoken two sport standout. “I had a bit of a slow start in the first half, so I was just trying to knock some shots down.”
Mathews finished with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. He also cleared nine rebounds, including three key ones in the final four minutes. He got help on the boards from senior Ben Hagaman, who celebrated signing to play football at Dartmouth Wednesday with a six-point, 11-rebound performance.
But the game was far from decided until the last four minutes, as Indy continued to work. And Franklin coach Jamie Wilson knew it.
“Give Coach (Greg) Glass credit. His kids play so stinkin’ hard. They are a tough match-up. If you’re not scoring you better be playing some defense because they can score, they can shoot it.
“And I give my kids credit. As far as defensive intensity and focus, that’s as well as I’ve seen it in a long time, maybe all season.”
That pressure was one of the reasons the Eagles unofficially shot a spirit breaking 28% from the floor, including just 4-of-16 from 3-point range. Freshman Murphy Grayson, who burned Centennial for 28 points last Friday night, managed only two points against the Rebels, hitting only one of his fourteen attempts. Senior Deion Sims led the Eagles in scoring with 16 points. Sims shooting totals will be recorded as only 6-of-16 from the field, but many of the misses were contested 3-pointers late in the game as he tried to rally Independence.
The game was still in question at the 5:30 mark of the fourth, with Franklin clinging to just a two point lead. They upped the lead to four on Hagaman’s put back and a pair of impressive Joe Critchlow assists in the next minutes left, both to Ben Hargreaves, stretched it to 47-41. Zac Muir sealed the win, hitting four straight free throws in the final 18-seconds.
There was one frightening moment late in the first quarter when the Eagles’ Finis Stribling, last month’s John Maher Builders Scholar-Athlete of the month who signed to play football for the University of Missouri Wednesday, went down quietly in front of the Independence bench. The senior was able to walk to the training room with an undisclosed injury. He returned to the bench with a trainer in the second quarter and played the remainder of the game, scoring four points and snagging a number of rebounds.
The win gives Franklin a third place finish in District 11-AAA, while dropping Indy to fourth. Franklin most likely will host Dickson County Thursday night in the opening round of the District 11-AAA tournament, while it is expected Independence will be at home on the same night, apparently hosting Centennial.
Franklin 58, Independence 25
If you’ve ever had a day where absolutely nothing seemed to go right, you can appreciate the kind of night Independence had.
Franklin (16-9, 10-2) scored 17 points in the first quarter on Senior Night; it took the Lady Eagles three complete quarters to match that total. By then, the Lady Rebels had stretched the lead to 25-points and cruised through the final eight minutes to notch a 58-25 win.
It was a senior-centric night for Franklin as Anna Patton led all scorers with 13 points and Rachael Hawn added 10. Fellow seniors Angela McPeak added six and Merideth Ovies and Hannah Harris both chipped in four a piece as fourth year players accounted for 68% of the home team’s total.
Independence (7-17, 4-8) struggled from the beginning, committing four turnovers and missing two shots in their first six trips down the floor to open the game. Like their male counterparts, the Lady Eagles unofficially shot a disappointing 28% from the floor for the game. Reagan Croff and Tia Collaro led Indy in scoring with six points each.
The win gives the Lady Rebels second place in District 11-AAA and a number-two seed in the district tournament next week. First year head coach Kari Goodwin actually smiled slightly as the Franklin student section roared a, “We love Goodwin,” chant for the last thirty-seconds of the game. Goodwin finally acknowledged the group by shyly blowing the section a kiss, sending the stands into an appreciative frenzy.
Franklin should host Centennial Wednesday night in the opening round of the District 11-AAA tournament. Independence will most likely have to travel to Ravenwood in a 4 vs. 5 match up, while Dickson County, the third seeded team, should host Summit.
Posted on: 2/8/2014