Boys Basketball

Franklin stays unbeaten in SWBL with gritty win over Ross

FRANKLIN — The Franklin High School boys basketball team escaped a physical Friday night gauntlet against Southwestern Buckeye League foe Ross.

Carter Black scored a game-high 18 points, Tito Harrison came up with a couple huge buckets in the second half to register 10 points and the Wildcats knocked off the visiting Rams 48-40 to remain unbeaten in the conference.

“I felt like we had to earn everything on the offensive end — really both halves — but especially in that first half,” Franklin second-year coach David Alford said. “We had to work for everything, and I felt like they were coming down and getting everything they wanted in the first half.

“Second half, I felt like my guys really came out and brought the defense. Rebounding was kind of questionable for us. The ones they did miss, I thought they were getting second-chance points.”

Franklin led most of the first half until Ross junior guard Peyton Hendricks hit a bucket with 3:17 remaining in the second quarter to give the Rams their first lead at 18-17.

Harrison drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie it at 25-25 heading into the half.

“We had some good opportunities — especially late in the first half and a couple early in the second half where we didn’t knock down some shots,” Ross seventh-year coach David Lane said. “But with our limited size, we have to knock down some shots. Not saying we have to make 12 a game, but six, seven, eight for us will put us in a spot where we need to be.”

The Rams shoot 34% from 3-point range on the season but fired 1 of 9 from behind the arc Friday night.

The Wildcats were able to control most of a gritty second half by both programs.

“It’s always going to be physical,” said Black, a senior guard. “First half, I thought everything was going in — shooting really good from the field. Our teammates got involved. Our offense didn’t look too bad the first half, but second half, we stepped it up and everyone was hitting.

“We just played team effort. We all played hard. We really wanted that third win in the league — 3-0 going into the break. We were pumped up.”

Harrison hit a trey to put Franklin ahead 37-31 with 1:37left in the third to halt some Ross momentum, and the Wildcats held the Rams to 15 points in the second half to secure that third league win.

Ross (3-3, 0-2 SWBL), which has lost three out of its last four games, was led by Will Schaefer’s 12 points. Keithen Castator finished with 10 points for the Rams, who shot 9 of 17 from the free throw line.

Franklin (4-4, 3-0 SWBL) beat Ross last season 66-64 to earn its first victory after starting off 0-13 — which had been the only meeting between the two schools in the 11 years prior.

Wildcats junior guard Kai Cook is third in the SWBL in scoring with 19.1 points a game and was held to just seven points after enduring some early foul trouble.

Both teams get back to action next Friday. Ross hosts Taylor, while Franklin travels to Clinton Massie.


LIBERTY TWP. — Greater Miami Conference scoring leader Trey Perry had a game-high 24 points and Lakota East handed Middletown its first loss of the season with a 50-37 victory Friday night.

The Thunderhawks (4-2, 4-1 GMC) moved out to a 13-5 lead after the first quarter and closed things out with a dominant fourth quarter. Lakota East fired 15 of 31 (48.4%) from the floor, including 5 of 14 (35.7%) from beyond the arc.

Jeremiah Landers had 10 points to pace Middletown (7-1, 4-1 GMC), which had its seven-game winning streak snapped. The Middies shot just 8 of 34 (23.5%) from the floor.

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