Boys Basketball

Black’s last-second shot lifts Franklin past Ross in double OT thriller

ROSS TWP. — David Alford was reminded that a year ago this exact week was when his Franklin High School boys basketball team grabbed its first victory of last season.

What a difference a year has made.

Kai Cook had a game-high 23 points, and Carter Black scored the game-winning basket to help the Wildcats beat the Ross Rams 49-48 in double overtime and clinch the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division title on Friday night.

Franklin (12-5, 6-1 SWBL Southwestern) has won three straight against Ross and nine of its last 10. The Wildcats beat the Rams on Jan. 21, 2023, after starting last season 0-13.

“For the progress that we’ve made to go from dead last in the SWBL to first, it’s just a testament to these guys,” said Alford, whose squad finished 3-20 his first year at the helm.

“The hard work that they’ve put in all offseason, all season long. People always ask me what the difference between last year’s team and this year. These guys work every single day in practice. I don’t ever question their effort. They buy in to game plans better than any team I’ve ever coached. So, they’re deserving of it. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

Will Schaefer, who had a team-high 14 points, bucketed seven of Ross’ eight points after regulation. The junior guard scored on a tough drive to the hoop that put the Rams ahead 48-47 with 20 seconds left in the second OT period.

The Wildcats brought the ball up court and called a timeout to talk things over with 9.2 seconds remaining.

Alford said the final play that was drawn up hadn’t been attempted all season. It was designed to use Cook as a decoy, but the league’s leading scorer fouled out going after a loose ball with 2:19 left in the second overtime.

“I still felt like we could still get a bite on it. Carter’s our senior. He’s our captain. He’s been huge for us,” Alford said. “Any time Kai’s been out of the game or in foul trouble, Carter’s that next guy up. … I wanted to give him the opportunity to get the game winner.”

And Black stepped up.

The 6-foot guard took a pass near the top of the key and worked his way inside the paint against Schaefer. Black made a shifty spin move toward the basket, kept Schaefer grounded and put up a shot from a couple feet away that found the bottom of the net as time was about to expire.

“They drew up the play for me, and I just knew I was going to take it to the rim,” said Black, who finished with six points. “I was going to make it. Oh, my gosh.”

“I wasn’t sure if it was going to go in or not,” Alford chimed in. “It kind of sat on the rim for a second. But it’s just a huge play. I’m so happy for our guys.”

The Rams (6-10, 0-6 SWBL Southwestern) led 23-20 at the half, and that’s when Schaefer did all of his offensive work. Schaefer went 4 for 4 from the free throw line, hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers and scored on two contested drives to the hoop — all of which came in the second half or overtime periods.

“We drew up a couple sets, and I thought we executed really well,” Ross coach David Lane said. “Those were kind of second and third options. Isaac Nunn, two times, did a really good job of making some unselfish passes to Will, and Will had the heart to step up and knock down some shots. Credit to those two.”

Peyton Hendricks had 12 points for Ross, which has lost five of its last six by only a combined 14 points. Nunn, Riley Caldwell and Keithen Castator each scored six points apiece.

“We’ve got to be able to finish games,” said Lane, whose Rams lost to Edgewood on a last-second 3-pointer on Tuesday. “The message I told them is to continue to stick with me, stick together. I told them I’m not going to stop preparing as hard as I can. You guys can do the same thing. I think it shows a lot about our guys’ character after a tough loss on Tuesday to come back and prepare Wednesday and Thursday to get ready for these guys.”

Lincoln Clark had career highs of 11 points and 18 rebounds for the Wildcats.

“That’s the kid we expected to have all season long,” Alford said. “That’s the kid we see in practice every day. For him to come out tonight and rebound the way he did, that was the difference for us.”


Both squads get back to action on Tuesday. Ross travels to East Central, while Franklin hosts Brookville.

Other notable Butler County boys basketball results from Friday night:


Demetrius Berry had 15 points, Andrea Holden chipped in with 10 and Hamilton cruised by Colerain.

The Big Blue (11-6, 8-3 Greater Miami Conference) led 29-5 at the half, fired 26 of 52 (50%) from the floor and forced 23 turnovers.


Trey Perry scored a game-high 30 points, Derek Jackson had 17 and Lakota East knocked off Middletown.

Jeremiah Landers had 18 points and Ny’Jhere Araujo chipped in with 14 off the bench for the Middies (11-6, 6-5 GMC). The Thunderhawks (9-8, 6-5 GMC) shot 21 of 40 (52.5%) from the field.


Isaiah Meade-Moss had a season-high 25 points and Josh Tyson chipped in with 15 to lead Lakota West past Fairfield.

Kameron Sanders had 22 points and Michael Lewis added 12 for the Indians (7-10, 5-6 GMC). The Firebirds (11-5, 8-3 GMC) have won three of their last four and eight of their last 10.


Badin has won three in a row following a Greater Catholic League Coed victory over Fenwick.

The Rams (6-8, 2-5 GCL Coed) avenged their season-opening loss to the Falcons (10-6, 3-4 GCL Coed) who won 58-36 on Dec. 12 at Fenwick.

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