Franklin falls short of state tournament
Published 9:49 am Wednesday, February 24, 2016
BY ANDREW LIND
Fourth-ranked Franklin fell behind No. 3 Sussex Central 13-0 in Friday night’s Virginia High School League Conference 41 semifinal matchup, but the Broncos did not immediately head home with their tails between their legs.
Instead, the team fought its way back into the lead in the third quarter before ultimately succumbing to the Tigers, 59-49.
“We continued to fight,” Franklin head coach Robby Cutchins said. “We were down, but we swung [back] and continued to fight.”
After Cutchins called a timeout, the Broncos went on a 12-0 run of their own.
A back-and-forth contest from there, Franklin took a 41-39 lead at the end of the third quarter thanks to two big three-pointers from junior Fred Lassiter.
“We got a little momentum in the second quarter, and a little bit more in the third to get us a lead,” Cutchins said, “but it took everything that we had.”
Sussex Central took the lead with just under four minutes remaining, and Franklin simply didn’t have the energy to counter once again. The Broncos missed seven of eight free throws in the final three minutes, as the Tigers stretched their lead to the final scores.
“With all of the action, we may have just run out of gas,” Cutchins said.
“I am so proud of the kids and the way that they have battled. I am so proud of what they accomplished this year, and [they] have worked to a seed that no one thought we would get with our youth.”
Franklin had two players in double figures, as Lassiter scored 18 points and sophomore Markeen Tyler pitched in 11.
Travian Eley and Braxton Poarch led Sussex Central, who went on to win the conference tournament with a 58-51 victory over the top-ranked Surry County Cougars, with 17 and 14 points apiece.