High-flying Eagles soar past Broncos

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016

“This is a rare night,” Greensville County head coach Antwan Walton said after Friday night’s game against Franklin. “Normally we come out flat, sloppy and slow, but tonight, we came out with some energy.”

The Eagles — who typically fall behind early and have to fight back into a game — rushed out to a 10-0 lead and cruised to a 69-45 win over the Broncos. The home team didn’t get on the board until senior forward Quayshawn Jefferson hit two free throws with two minutes left in the opening quarter. Franklin went on a brief run, thereafter, and trailed by only six at the end of the first period.

“We just keep fighting, and that’s what we had to do, fight for four quarters,” Franklin head coach Robby Cutchins said. “Tonight was a night that we had to play man-to-man for four quarters and try to keep our guys fresh.”

But even with the change in defensive philosophy, Greensville continued to dominate the game. The Eagles extended their lead to 12 just a few minutes into the second quarter, and led 33-21 at the intermission.

“It was a game of runs by both teams,” Cutchins said. “My hat’s off to Greensville because they are a really good basketball team at the 2A level. They are a year removed from a Final Four appearance, and returned most all of the players back for this year’s team.”

Greensville opened the second half on another 10-0 run, but Franklin fought back, outscoring the Eagles 14-11 the rest of the third quarter.

“We knew we were overmatched from the size differences, however, we didn’t back down one bit. I was proud of the way we continued to fight,” Cutchins said, noting that 5-foot-8 forward Quayshawn Jefferson was tasked with guarding 6-foot-6 Jordan Peebles. “We are undermatched with size in most of the games we play, however, the boys continued to fight and never quite because we make most of our living off what we create from the defensive side of the ball.”

After a few minutes of even play in the fourth quarter, both teams went to their benches to close out the game.

“We didn’t shoot the basketball well, which, in return, hurts in games that you have a hard time getting to the rim,” Cutchins said. “We have to knock down those shots, which are ultimately the equalizer in games like this.”

Jefferson was the only Bronco in double figures, scoring 13 points. Cordarius Clayton led the Eagles with 18 points, while Peebles pitched in 11.

Franklin returned to the court on Monday evening and routed Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, 71-29. The Broncos trailed 11-10 after one quarter of play, but turned up the heat defensively to outscore the Dragons 23-6 before the close of the half.

“[I’m] very pleased at the way we got after it,” Cutchins said. “It was a total team effort, and all 13 guys contributed throughout the contest, which was very rewarding. We were also able to knock down shots, which we haven’t been able to do as of late, so that helped to build confidence as the game went on.”

Senior guard Darrien Duck led all scorers with 18 points, and sophomore guard Deuntae Jefferson chipped in 16.