Franklin loses lead against Chesterfield

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FRANKLIN-The Franklin High School boys’ basketball team had district kingpin Chesterfield Community High School on the ropes with a brilliant first half Tuesday night. Then it all came unraveled in eight minutes. The Eagles bombed Franklin 22-8 in the third quarter en route to a 68-56 victory in Tri-Rivers District action.

Franklin, Chesterfield and Surry were all tied for the conference lead at 4-1 coming into Tuesday night. The victory gives Chesterfield and Surry the top spot, while Franklin drops down to third place.

The upset-minded Broncos came out with a fast-break offense that shocked the Eagles and built up an 18-2 lead in the first quarter. Eight of those points came directly off layups from the fastbreak. Chesterfield did not have a field goal until 1:14 left in the first quarter.

The Franklin onslaught continued, and the Broncos held a 38-28 lead at the half.

Then the bottom fell out. The Eagles collected themselves and went on a 20-4 run to open the third quarter. David Copeland scored 10 of his game-high 28 points during the run. Copeland, a sixth man off the bench, was one of the players involved in a serious car accident last season during the playoffs.

Chesterfield (11-4, 5-1) led by just 50-46 at the end of the third quarter, but Franklin could never take back the lead. The Broncos managed to cut the lead to two twice on a drive by Ashley Lee and later a drive by Derrick Thompson, but Chesterfield quickly knocked the lead back to 10 with eight straight points.

“We played the best half we played all year and then the worst half we played all year,” said Franklin head coach Danny Dillon. “We had them rattled and it just came unraveled. We made so many mistakes in the second half. I just don’t understand it.”

Lee led the Broncos (9-3, 4-2) with 15 points, Thompson scored 11 points, and Denzel Smith added 10 points. The Broncos played the game without Antonio Smith, who was injured in Monday night’s win over Charles City.

“That hurt us big time. “We couldn’t get Daquan (Frazier) and DT (Derrick Thompson) breaks without losing something,” Dillon said.

Franklin plays at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School tonight and has a big game at Surry County on Tuesday. Franklin will get a rematch with Chesterfield on the road on Feb. 11.

“It would have been nice to beat them,” Dillon said. “More importantly, we saw Surry and we know what they have and we saw Chesterfield and we know what they have. We still have both of them at their places and if we beat Surry and Chesterfield, it’s a three-way tie at the top.”