Franklin refuses to panic, advances with win over Cougars
By Joe Williams, Sports Editor
With their backs against a wall, both Franklin and Centennial opened their District 11-AAA quarter-final match-up determined to keep playing, knowing the loser would be eliminated. And they both played like it until a critical third quarter when the Rebels expanded a two-point lead to 13, eventually downing the Cougars 64-51.
With the win, the Rebels advance to face Ravenwood, a 59-47 winner over Summit, Saturday in the district semi-finals at Independence. It also assures Franklin a spot in the Region 6-AAA tourney next week for the first time in four years.
“It’s big,” said senior Ben Hagaman, who dropped in eight points and helped keep the boards cleared in the Rebels favor. “I’m anxious to see where we can go.
“We’ve got to play Ravenwood first and I’m real excited about that one. They are a good team, a real good team, but I think we can get them.”
That air of confidence is an indication of how much this Franklin team has grown over the course of the season. It showed during the contest, too, as Centennial gave the Rebels all they wanted the first sixteen minutes, leaving the Cougars down only two, 19-17 at the break.
“There was no panic in their eyes,” agreed Franklin coach Jamie Wilson. “The kids just came out in the second half and got the job done.”
Franklin appeared tight early, committing 14 turnovers in the first 12 minutes, while Centennial played with abandon. Senior Josh Keller ran the Cougar offense with quickness and scored five of teams first 7 points on the way to 12 for the game.
“Keller played like a senior who was in his last game. He’s got a ton of heart and his motor never stopped,” said Wilson.
Franklin made a critical 21-10 run in the third quarter by sharing the ball on the offensive end. Tanner Spalding collected five of his ten points during the period and Mac McDonald drilled a three in the first minute and half to give the Rebels their biggest lead at 24-20.
Defensively, Franklin held Centennial to 2-of-11 shooting in the third quarter, with the Cougars getting six of their ten points from the free-throw line. The Cougars hit 20-of-33 attempts from the charity stripe for the game.
Both teams had three players notch double figures for the fast paced, brutally physical contest. Keller had 12 points in his final appearance in a Cougar uniform, Drew Joiner added 11 and Tyrell Dodson, a sophomore also named to the all district list, led the team with 13.
For Franklin, McDonald led the team with 11 points and Spalding and Mathews both chipped in ten apiece.
Franklin girls handle Centennial 50-35
Second seed Franklin raced to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter, took a 27-7 advantage into half-time and then cruised to a 50-35 victory over Centennial. The win advances the Lady Rebels to a 7:15 p.m. semi-final contest with Dickson County Saturday night at Independence.
Nine Lady Rebels scored in the contest, led by Hannah Harris with 10. Delani Distephano led Centennial with 7.
Saturday’s match-up is an expected second versus third seed contest. Coach Kari Goodwin’s charges defeated Dickson County twice during the regular season, but the Lady Cougars have been on a roll of late.
“We know they will be ready,” said Goodwin. “But we have some things we can do. We’ll be prepared.”
Posted on: 2/14/2014