Thanks for the support

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Danny Dillon
Franklin Broncos Head Coach 

FRANKLIN—The Franklin Broncos were excited about being in the sweet 16 for the third time in four years. This year we were heading into the game with less-experienced players, but had high hopes with moving to the Elite 8. The Broncos finished second in Conference 41, and lost in the championship gave to Surry High School by a score of 71-60. This loss sent the mighty Broncos to travel to Mathews last Tuesday night.

Mathews High had won the Conference 42 championship against West Point and were poised for a home game against Franklin. The Blue Devils had something that Franklin did not and that was height. Mathews center Chris Perrault was 6’8” tall, while their swing man was 6’4’. Their point guard and shooting guard were both 6’2”.

We knew we had our work cut out for us because of Mathews’ height. They were about 6 inches taller than us at every position, but we were up for the task and were willing to give everything we had to get the win. It was your modern-day David versus Goliath!

There were more than 400 Mathew fans at the start of the game and their involvement increased with every possession. The Broncos were hanging tough in the first quarter with solid shooting and a few steals. Franklin went into the second quarter leading 15-14. Mathews’ Cody Kelly carried them in the second quarter as they were up 28-23 with 10 seconds to go. Franklin pushed the ball to Quintin Lowe, who heaved up a half-court shot at the buzzer that bounced off the glass and in to put the halftime score to 28-26 Mathews.

Mathews looked to pull away in the second half, but Franklin kept getting big shots by Fred Lassiter and they found themselves tied going into the fourth quarter. Again, the Mathews made a run and were up by 6 points with 3 minutes to go in the game. Corey Porter got a few steals and easy buckets while Fred Lassiter hit four three-pointers in the second half to give the Broncos a two-point lead with one minute to go. The Mathews’ big man Perrault caught the ball in the post and made a lay up while Terry Warren was called for the foul. With 21 seconds left in the game, Perrault missed the free throw and the score was tied 49-49. Both Corey Porter and Perrault hit one for two from the line, which sent the game into overtime. The Mighty Broncos, with little depth on the bench, simply ran out of gas, Mathews pulled away winning by a score of 62 to 57. The Broncos made a valiant effort, but came up short.

Leading scorers were Cody Kelly with 27 points for Mathews while Deondre Foster added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Fred Lassiter had a career night hitting 6 three -pointers in the game and ended with  25 points and 14 rebounds. Corey Porter and Quintin Lowe both added 12 points a piece.

Fred’s shooting is what kept us in the game. And most of the shots he hit were with someone in his face. Without those shots we never make it to overtime.

The boys played disciplined basketball and passed the ball so well.

That team was bigger and better than us, and yet we still almost found a way to win. That is what we have been doing all season, finding ways to win. Being ranked 12th in the state and making a run like we did with our best player being a freshman, I’ll take that!

Quite honestly the part that made me more proud of any win all season is the fact that there were so many Mathews fans that came up to Coach Cutchins, Coach Artis and myself after the game, congratulating us on how hard the Broncos fought.

They also kept commenting on our sportsmanship, character and class. I know we didn’t win the game, but when people acknowledge all the hard work that these young men put in, it certainly makes it all worthwhile. We always talk about giving God the glory whether we win or lose!

The way I see it is that these young men became more mature, loved one another, worked hard and represented their family, God and Franklin in a fantastic way. What more can you ask for?