The wait is over. The Franklin Rebels are headed back to the state tournament.
Reese Glover provided one more spectacular performance on the Rebels' home floor Monday and led Franklin past Gallatin 63-42 to reach the Class AAA state tournament for the first time since 1989, ending a 30-year drought.
“It’s pretty emotional right now because it’s been such a long journey,” said Glover, who hit nine 3-pointers in the contest. “I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for this. I’m trying not to rush past this feeling because I realize just how special it is.
“We deserve this and God-willing, we can keep it going.”
Glover picked up where he left off last week in the Region 6-AAA tournament. He closed the second half of the championship game against Brentwood with 27 of his 29 points, including seven 3-pointers, in the Rebels 78-51 win.
Glover scored 36 Monday and ended the first quarter with seven straight points to help the Rebels stake a 21-6 lead against the Green Wave – a start that didn’t go unnoticed by coach Darrin Joines. Gallatin entered on the heels of back-to-back games that finished in the 30s, including a 35-34 win against top-seeded Mt. Juliet in the Region 5-AAA semifinals.
“We talked about needing to score,” Joines said. “We knew they’d be deliberate. And they were deliberate even down double digits, if they were deliberate and they were up or we were up just two or four, that really could have been a nightmare. I thought the start was maybe as important as anything.”
Thirty years ago I was a mid-20s sports radio know-it-all-wannabe blessed beyond my ability …
The gym at Franklin began filling up more than an hour before tipoff. Plenty of former Franklin players and alumni attended. In the line to get in early, one passerby asked Kevin Anglin if he was going to suit up. “Not tonight,” the former Rebel great replied. He was among several from that 1989 team that not only reached the state tournament, but won the championship that year.
Franklin athletic director Jay Johnson, who was the sophomore point guard for the Rebels on that title team, broadcasted the game live Monday night.
“We talked tonight on the broadcast all night long about 30 years, 30 years, 30 years,” he said. “It’s unbelievable that it’s been that long, but this is a great group of kids. They deserve it.”
The Franklin students – the Rebellion – took up a quarter of the stands and dominated the atmosphere as they did in the region tournament. Joines and Glover again praised the support from the students and Franklin faithful.
“Our crowd really helped us tonight, too,” Joines said. “I thought we were really shining under the lights tonight. If you have all seen bigger and better, let me know. I would pay a ticket to go and watch.
“I just don’t think anybody is any better at supporting their team.”
“I’m so thankful for the students, the parents and all the people who I don’t even know that support this team,” Glover added. “The amount of support we have is incredible.”
After a more even second quarter against Gallatin, Glover guided the Rebels out of the halftime break with four 3-pointers in the third quarter as the home team jumped out on a 15-5 run, capped by Glover’s dish to Luis Sanchez on the break to give Franklin a 50-25 lead 2:03 to play in the frame. Glover ended the frame as he ended the first quarter, by knocking down a deep 3-pointer.
All Gallatin coach Bobby Luna could do was shake his head. Glover was dialed in.
“You know Glover is a special player with his ability to make shots even when defended,” he said. “I didn’t think we did a great job defensively on him, but I didn’t think we did a poor job defensively on him either.
“I don’t think our kids have anything to hang their head about. We got beat by a really good team with some special players tonight, who played well. Our kids fought hard to the end.”
Matt Thurman added nine points and controlled the glass for the Rebels. Ahsharri Haynesworth and Reed Kemp both added seven points.
Reese Glover, Ahsharri Haynesworth and the Franklin Rebels dominated in the second half of T…
Beljwok Adaing (16) and Larodre Clark (15) both reached double figures for the Green Wave, who reached the sectional round for the first time since 2003.
Joines said his team will celebrate before turning their focus to Murfreesboro and the state stage. They had “State Bound” shirts made and special Rebel hats handed out before cutting down the nets on their home floor.
He called Glover, the prolific scorer and defender who guided the Rebels to the same game last year only to fall short against Mt. Juliet, one of the best players he's witnessed.
“Reese, he’s just something else,” he said, noting Glover’s brothers Ryan and Reed who were part of Johnson’s coached Franklin teams that reached the sectional round in 2007 and 2009 with the latter falling to Joines’ team when he coached at Beech. “He’s the most dynamic scorer I think I’ve ever seen, certainly the most dynamic I’ve ever coached, but in terms of really guys I’ve coached against, too, he’s just dynamic. He’s unbelievable.
“That guy is a legend at this school. That family is legendary for this school.”
Glover said he wasn’t going to be denied a shot at playing at state.
“We knew we all had to stay locked in to get to this point,” he said. “Right before the game, we made sure we had that mentality that we weren’t going to lose no matter what. Last year left a bitter taste with us.
"I’m just glad we could do this for this community. This is pretty special.”
Franklin boys 63, Gallatin 42, Class AAA Sectional
GHS – 6 14 10 12 – 42
FHS – 21 14 18 10 – 63
GHS (42) – Jaden Williams 1, Ty Martin 3, Cade Martin 4, Montez Banks 3, Larodre Clark 15, Beljwok Adaing 16.
FHS (63) – Ahsharri Haynesworth 7, Reese Glover 36, Reed Kemp 7, Matt Thurman 9, Luis Sanchez 2, Fisher Anderson 2.
3-point goals – GHS 4 (T. Martin, Banks, Clark, Adaing); FHS 9 (Glover 9). Total Fouls – GHS 15; FHS 11. Fouled Out – None.