The veterans got the best of the youngsters Tuesday in the Region 6-AAA semifinals.
The Franklin boys advanced to the region championship for a second year in a row with a 73-58 win over upstart Summit at Brentwood High School. Senior Reese Glover scored 25 points and paced an efficient Rebels scoring effort as Franklin will get the chance to defend its 2018 region title against rival Brentwood Thursday.
“It means a ton,” said Glover, who shot 8-of-15 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. “We still got a ways to go, but it was a really good win for our team. I’m just really happy for our guys.”
A win Thursday means the Rebels could host a Class AAA Sectional Monday, trying to end the more than three-decade state tournament draught for the program. The Rebels fell in the sectional round last year.
"It’s a great opportunity for us to hopefully get one back at our place and finish it out," said Franklin's Reed Kemp, who added 15 points and four assists.
Summit was making just the second appearance in the region semifinals in the young school’s history, but the Spartan faithful jammed into five buses to help offset the always rowdy Franklin student section – The Rebellion. Together, the two fan bases made for a championship-style atmosphere.
And it was one that didn’t intimidate the young Spartans, who start three freshmen and two sophomores.
“I think it boils down to that they’re talented,” Franklin coach Darrin Joines said of Summit. “Every time we played them, I kept saying, man I hope that youth shows up where the moment gets them and I knew we had a huge crowd and they would … I hate to say this, but I was actually hoping they would just fold under the lights. That didn’t happen.”
Franklin traded blows in the early going leading 19-15 at the end of the opening frame and 34-31 at the break. Glover hit 5-of-7 from the floor and led all scorers with 13 points. He scored the game’s first basket with a deep 3-pointer off the glass.
“We did a fairly good job of trying to stay in front of him and make his shots tough, he just did a better job of making really tough shots,” Summit coach Josh Goodwin said. “Those are shots that, whether it’s really good college players or really good high school players or NBA guys, great defense doesn’t beat great offense.
"Some guys can just jump up and make those shots and he’s done it his whole career.”
The Spartans began to struggle from the floor in the third.
After shooting 54 percent in the first half, Summit hit just 3-of-11 after the break as Franklin went on a 16-8 run. Ahsharri Haynesworth, who finished with 15 points and five rebounds, scored the first five points of the third to get the Rebels rolling. By the time Glover slipped behind the defense and scored on a feed from Matt Thurman, the Rebels owned a 54-39 lead at the 7:05 mark of the fourth quarter.
Summit was down, but far from out.
Freshman Destin Wade guided a 9-0 run over the next 93 seconds capped by his 3-pointer with 5:32 to play to pull the Spartans within 54-48. Wade closed with a team-high 18 points to go with seven boards.
Both teams traded free throws and Reed Kemp connected on two to make it 58-50 with 5:10 to play. Wade tacked on another bucket after a scramble underneath Summit’s basket with 3:54 remaining. The basket trimmed Franklin’s lead to six once again at 58-52, but Summit didn’t get any closer.
Franklin closed on a 15-6 run as Summit went cold from the field. The Spartans managed just 4-of-22 shooting in the fourth.
“I feel like we kind of ran out gas,” said Wade, whose twin brother Keaten added six points and sis rebounds. “We were trying our best to keep up with them, but we didn’t get back on transition when they were on offense and that gave up easy buckets, too.”
Goodwin said it came down to efficiency. Franklin shot 58 percent for the game, including 9-of-18 from long range, while Summit managed just 35 percent shooting, hitting 7-of-33 in the second half.
“The fact that we attempted 19 more shots than they did and made two less,” he said. “We out-rebounded them, we forced more turnovers … but If we want to win any games, you have to hit shots.
“They made the plays. They made the shots. They did what was necessary.”
Brentwood boys basketball coach Greg Shirley says how a team plays defense shows the character and effort of a team.
The Rebels edged Summit by 2 points twice in the regular season before rolling the Spartans in the District 11-AAA semifinals just over a week ago. Similarly, Franklin will face Brentwood for a fourth time this season on Thursday in the region title tilt.
The Rebels defeated the Bruins 74-65 in the district championship in a game where Brentwood rallied late only to fall short in a fourth-quarter shootout where the two rivals combined for 70 points in the final eight minutes.
“It’s just another game, but they are good team,” Glover said. “It’s going to be an incredible atmosphere.”
Franklin boys 73, Summit 58, Region 6-AAA Semifinal
SHS – 15 16 8 19 – 58
FHS – 19 15 16 23 – 73
SHS (58) – Destin Wade 6-15 4-4 18, Keaten Wade 3-9 0-0 6, Caleb Jolley 3-5 3-3 9, Konata Werts 2-13 4-6 8, Tristan Conger 2-6 2-2 7, Hayden Turner 2-4 0-0 6, Jonathan Myers 2-5 0-2 4, James Werts 0-0 0-0 0. Totals – 20-57 13-17 58.
FHS (73) – Ahsharri Haynesworth 6-11 2-2 15, Reese Glover 8-15 6-6 25, Reed Kemp 4-5 4-4 15, Jordan Bruce 1-3 3-3 6, Matt Thurman 1-2 5-6 7, Jacob McGraw 1-1 0-0 3, Finlay Long 1-1 0-1 2, Luis Sanchez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals – 22-38 20-22 73.
3-point goals – SHS 5-26 (Turner 2-4, D. Wade 2-9, Conger 1-3); FHS 9-18 (Kemp 3-3, Glover 3-8, McGraw 1-1, Haynesworth 1-3, Bruce 1-3). Rebounds – SHS 31 (D. Wade 7, K. Wade 6); FHS 24 (Glover 7, Thurman 7). Assists – SHS 11 (Conger 5, K. Werts 4); FHS 11 (Kemp 4, Haynesworth 3). Steals – SHS 5 (K. Wade 2, D. Wade 2); FHS 5 (Haynesworth 2, Glover 2). Blocks – FHS 2 (Haynesworth 2). Turnovers – SHS 12; Franklin 14. Total Fouls – SHS 17; FHS 15. Fouled Out – None.