Franklin Broncos boys basketball preview

Published 4:53 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Just two years removed from a run to the Virginia High School League’s Division IA Sweet 16, the Franklin Broncos must move on from a disappointing first season under the direction of head coach Robby Cutchins. After leading the junior varsity for 10 seasons, Cutchins was tasked with replacing the coach who amassed the most wins in school history — Danny Dillon — and eight rotation players — three of which were starters the year prior.

“We were young last year,” Cutchins said. “We started three seniors, but we played a lot of guys who had never played on varsity before. This year it’s more of the same. We’re starting three sophomores and one freshman. It’s pretty much a new look across the board.”

Those upperclassmen who return, meanwhile, have only had a little more than a week to practice between the end of the football season and the start of basketball. Nevertheless, the second-year coach is confident that his team’s depth will allow for room for growing pains early in the season and wear other teams out later in the year.

“I don’t think it hinders us like people think it would because they’re athletes, but they do have to be in a little bit different of shape, though,” Cutchins said of two-sport athletes like Darrien Duck and Quayshawn Jefferson. “We haven’t been as deep as we’d like to have been in years past, so it’ll help when we can sub in guys when we need to.

“Down the stretch, it’ll fall on the younger guys who have gotten valuable time in the past,” he continued. “It’s imperative that they pick up where they left off last year because our expectations are extremely high.”

Numbers to Know

4 – Franklin and Southampton have split the on-court version of the Backyard Brawl in each of the last four seasons. The Broncos took the first game of this year’s rivalry matchup, 63-57, and the Indians will look to return the favor when the squads meet on Jan. 13.

41 – Franklin was the three seed in last year’s Conference 41 tournament, and was scheduled to play second-ranked Sussex Central in the conference semifinals. Inclement winter weather forced the game to be cancelled, advancing the Tigers to the championship round and ending the Broncos’ season without a chance to sneak into the playoffs.

Cast of Characters

Darrien Duck – Senior Darrien Duck is the Broncos’ most experienced player, having started three years on the varsity squad. He is Franklin’s most versatile athlete to which his dual-threat capabilities as a quarterback can attest. He can handle the ball well, score off the dribble and stretch to the power forward position when the Broncos go small.

Quayshawn Jefferson – The runner up for the Western Tidewater Player of the Year in football after rushing for nearly 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, senior Quayshawn Jefferson is expected to have a big year on the hardwood, too. “[He’s] going to lead the way for us,” Cutchins said. Jefferson, like his teammates, is a bit undersized at 5-foot-8, but makes up for it with his baseline-to-baseline speed.


Dec. 5 – at Southampton W  63-57
Dec. 7 – at Sussex Central L   63-55
Dec. 9 – Windsor
Dec. 11 – at Park View
Dec. 14 – at Surry
Dec. 16 – at Greensville
Dec. 18 – at Northampton
Dec. 22/23 – Franklin Christmas Tournament
Jan. 4 – Northampton
Jan. 6 – at Brunswick
Jan. 8 – at ARGS
Jan. 13 – Southampton
Jan. 15 – Sussex Central
Jan. 20 – at Windsor
Jan. 22 – Park View
Jan. 27 – Surry
Jan. 29 – Greensville
Feb. 1 – ARGS
Feb. 5 – Brunswick