Broncos rout Pointers in regional quarterfinals

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fresh off a 62-60 win over Chesterfield Community in the Tri-Rivers District tournament on Saturday, the Franklin High School boys’ basketball team was all business in Wednesday’s opening round of the Region A Group A Division I playoffs.

Franklin jumped out to a 44-20 halftime lead and never looked back as the Broncos dropped West Point 78-60.

With the win, Franklin will play at Chesterfield Community at 7 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. The winner of that game will play for the regional championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Surry County High School.

Franklin came out strong in the first quarter and easily penetrated the West Point defense for inside buckets. Leading 11-7, the Broncos went on a 9-0 run to open the game up. All of those points were a result of free throws on fouls on the inside and layups. The Broncos pushed the ball all quarter and led 27-11 at the buzzer.

Franklin slowed the game down a little in the second quarter but continued the onslaught and ended the half with a 44-20 lead. Donzell Shearin led the Franklin attack with 13 points in the first half.

“We certainly wanted to come out and understand that, without a JV game before, we just had to come out and play,” said Danny Dillon, Franklin head coach, about his team’s quick start.

The Broncos (16-4) slowed the game down in the third quarter. Franklin led by 30 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Denzel Smith scored on a layup and sank a free throw on a foul to put the Broncos up 64-34. The final score could have been worse, but Franklin subbed liberally in the fourth quarter.

Shearin, who has elevated his game over the last few weeks, led the Broncos in scoring again with 18 points. Ashley scored 14 points and Derrick Thompson chipped in 13 points.

For West Point, Terrance Briggs led with 21 points and Caleb Hatcher scored 14 points.

Dillon is happy with the way Franklin is playing at the end of the season.

“We are in the final 16 in the state and one away from the state playoffs,” he said. “Friday night we beat Surry and they were ranked number 5 in the state and turned around and beat Chesterfield and they were number 2 in the state and we beat them in the Tri-Rivers District tourney. We are playing very well right now.”

Back in December, the Broncos got a late start on the season because many of their players were part of the FHS football team that won a state championship. That may have helped the team in the long run.

“We are absolutely playing the best ball. We are still fresh. As far as our legs and hitting our peak right now, we are into it. We are a smaller team than Chesterfield and Surry, and with our speed and unselfishness, we put ourselves in the mix,” Dillon said.