When Reed Kemp dropped in a second free throw with 1:09 left to play, he left the floor with a smile on his face.
Not only was it his 30-point of the night, but it absolutely put the final nail in the Rebels' surprisingly easy 64-40 road win over Centennial in the first Battle of Franklin of the year Friday night in District 11-AAA play.
“It felt really good,” said the junior, still beaming after the contest. “It’s always good to get a rivalry road win to start the series.”
Kemp and Rebel big man Matt Thurman got Franklin rolling early, as each had 10 points in a 22-point first quarter, as shot after shot just refused to fall for the Cougars, who managed just nine in the opening frame.
Centennial, though still shooting poorly, mounted a comeback heading into the half, holding Franklin to a single Kemp 2-pointer in the second eight minutes and eventually cutting the lead to just five with 4:30 left in the third.
Franklin answered with bombs.
Aidan Smylie drilled two straight treys, drawing a plus-one on the second, and Thurman and Kemp poured on two more as the Rebels stretched the lead from five to 13 on just four trips down the floor.
“Aidan defers a lot of times to other shooters,” said victorious coach Jason Tigert, “but he stuck those two and they were big.”
Smylie finished with 15 points as he, Kemp, and Thurman accounted for 60 of their team’s 64 points.
Tigert was pleased with what he called a team win, and he said he was impressed with the effort from both squads.
“Any time you can come into a hostile environment like this and come out with any kind of win, I’ll take it," he said. "Both teams played with a lot of passion. This is a big rivalry, a great crowd, the student sections are energized, and both teams reflected that.
“This was a great team win for us. Kemp has been phenomenal. He sees everybody’s best defenders and yet he still knocks down shots, handles the ball, and never comes out of the game. Matt (Thurman) had a big night rebounding. The big guy got it done on the defensive glass.”
Dusty Williams, who before the game was presented a trophy ball in honor of his 1,000th point in his career, led Centennial with 15. Isaiah Poore added 11.
The victory leaves a three-team logjam for third in the district as Centennial, Franklin and Summit all sit with 4-2 records. Dickson County (5-0) and Brentwood (5-0) remain undefeated in league play.
Franklin (12-3 overall) travels to Dickson County, the team Tigert left to take over the Rebels, on Tuesday. Centennial (10-6) hosts Brentwood, also on Tuesday.
Franklin boys 64, Centennial 40
FHS – 22 2 25 15 – 64
CHS – 9 8 12 11 – 40
FHS (64) – Reed Kemp 30, Matt Thurman 15, Aiden Smylie 15, Spierto 2, Bdwell 2.
CHS (40) – Dusty Williams 15, Isaiah Poore 12, Ellison 8, Garrett 5.
Total Fouls – Franklin 14; Centennial 12. Free Throws – Franklin 9-9; Centennial 4-5.
Franklin girls 55, Centennial 44
Bergen Allee and Kate O’Neil combined for 45 points and provided all the offense Franklin needed Friday night in a 55-44 win over an improving Centennial team.
O'Neil and Allee combined to score all 18 points for Franklin (4-11, 1-5) in the opening frame as the Lady Rebels built a 18-9 lead early.
Allee padded her tally by hitting 5-of-9 from 3-point range. O’Neil, Lauren McKnight and Brenna Swiger all nabbed five rebounds.
Sheraton Foster scored 18 points to lead the Lady Cougars (2-12, 0-6).
Franklin girls 55, Centennial 44
FHS – 18 13 11 13 – 55
CHS – 9 10 6 19 – 44
FHS (55) – Bergen Allee 23, Kate O’Neil 22, Swiger 7, Doran 3.
CHS (44) – Sheraton Foster 18, Boyer 8, Petway 6, Wright 5, Kline 3, Hodge 2, Skinner 2.
Total Fouls – Franklin 13; Centennial 10. Free Throws – Franklin 4-6 Centennial 6-12.