On the 148th anniversary of the battle in which the rivalry gets its name, the Battle of Franklin hit the hardwood Friday night with Franklin High School defeating Battle Ground Academy 59-56 in overtime.
BGA battled back from a seven-point deficit with 2:49 remaining in the fourth quarter as Brian Dangerfield scored 10 points in a two-minute stretch, giving the Wildcats a 49-48 advantage with 28 seconds remaining.
“He’s a load,” Franklin coach Jay Johnson said of the BGA post player. “He had a great game. We had trouble matching up – we played in front of him, behind him, tried to double down on him, and nothing was really working.”
The battle in the post between Dangerfield and Franklin’s Kyle Tackett highlighted the final 12 minutes of play as Tackett’s foul shot with 16 second on the clock sent the game to overtime.
Dangerfield scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter before fouling out two minutes into the overtime period. Tackett also had 18 points on the night, 14 coming in the second half.
BGA led by as many as 12 points in the first half before settling down midway through the second quarter. The Rebels took their first advantage since early in the opening quarter with a Carter Bills basket, putting Franklin up 35-33 with 1:03 remaining in the third quarter.
“I think we were too hyped,” Johnson said of why his team got behind early. “I think we were too keyed up for the game. (BGA) settled down before we did and that showed. When they settled down, they got away from us a little bit.”
The coach credited Blake Henry’s 3-pointer at the end of the half, which brought Franklin to within 28-23, as a momentum builder for the Rebels’ comeback.
While the loss hurts for BGA coach Len McKnatt, he left the gym proud of his team’s performance.
“We’re more proud of this loss then we were of at least three, and maybe all four, of our wins,” he said. “We felt like we fought, we felt like we played against an experienced and tough team. We were battling through some injuries and some crazy stuff and I know Franklin was also.”
Gavin Shellnut led the Wildcats with 21 points.
BGA guard Nathan Moran left the game 25 seconds in after driving to basket and making a contested layup, falling to the floor an apparently hitting his head.
“He’s a tough kid.” McKnatt said outside of the visiting locker room post game. “We’ll just have to check on him. I haven’t heard anything else other than he was not feeling too well after he took the hit to the head – I don’t know if it was the floor or a knee. Hopefully he’s going to be fine.”