Broncos look to raise the bar on the court

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, December 1, 2022

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The Franklin High School varsity boys basketball team brings back its MVP and leading scorer from last season along with its starting point guard, helping put it in prime position to build on the team’s performance from recent years.

“Our expectations at Franklin High School are always high,” Broncos Head Coach Robby Cutchins said. “First and foremost the expectation for all of the young men in this program is

to be successful in ‘life.’ We know that starts in the classroom, in the community and then on the court.”

He noted that Franklin features a great group of young men again this season, with a roster consisting of six seniors, four juniors and three sophomores.

“Some of our top returners have gotten valuable experience on the court being one win away — the previous two seasons — from qualifying for the state tournament,” Cutchins said. “I think this experience will pay dividends for us this year. Losing to the eventual region champion each of the last two years, along with the state champion runner-up from two years ago, has provided an extra hunger for some of these upperclassmen who were in the program the last two years.”

The coach acknowledged that Franklin will particularly miss graduates Kenaz Jones and Jaylon Santiful, who he said were the Broncos’ “inside horses” last year, helping them go 10-9 during the regular season. Franklin finished 10-10 overall after falling in the first round of the Region 1B Tournament to Altavista High School, the eventual regional champion.

Five members of last year’s Broncos team graduated, including two starters, but among the returners are junior shooting guard Kaden Bailey, the 2021-22 team MVP, first team all-district and first team all-region selection, and senior point guard Derrick Perry, a now-four-year starter and 2021-22 first team all-district and second team all-region honoree.

Cutchins said that Perry is “hands down the quickest ball handler I have coached in all of my years.”

The coach praised Bailey for being an outstanding athlete. He was the program’s leading scorer from a year ago at 12.4 points per game and also the leader in steals, with 3.6 steals per game.

“He is the type of player that will do whatever I ask to put his team in the best position possible to be successful,” Cutchins said.

The coach highlighted two other players he expects to help lead Franklin on the court this year, including senior Jordan Myrick, who has notable on-court experience but will be making his debut in Franklin’s program this year.

“Jordan brings many different dimensions but especially a high basketball IQ to the program and can do a lot of different things, both inside and out,” Cutchins said. “He should have a great presence for us, both on offense and defense. Jordan has a great history of rebounding the ball well, so we look for much of the same with him on the boards. We will be looking for Jordan, along with Kaden and Derrick, to be leaders of the program.”

Cutchins is also looking forward to the contributions of junior Chaevon Torrance, who will be in his first year as a participant in the program this season.

“At 6 feet, 6 inches, Chaevon brings some length that we have lacked over the years,” the coach said. “He has the ability to do things, as well, at both ends of the floor and (will) help us control the boards and eliminate possessions for the opponent.”

The Broncos will be “jumping right into the fire” this season, according to Cutchins, as their first three games will be against visiting Lakeland High School on Thursday, Dec. 1; at Greensville County High School on Monday, Dec. 5; and at Brunswick High School on Wednesday, Dec. 7. All of these games are set to start at 7 p.m.

“All three of these games will be huge tests for us to show us where we are at and what

our weaknesses are,” Cutchins said. “We will continue to work and progress as the

season goes on, but we will be tested early.”

He described the Tri-Rivers District as “a very powerhouse league,” featuring teams from the Class 1, 2 and 3 levels of the Virginia High School League. Franklin is in Class 1, which is occupied by the smallest public schools in the state, so the Broncos will regularly face opponents from larger schools.

“We look forward to embracing that challenge again this season,” Cutchins said. “I think, ultimately, it is important to take one game at a time. We are responsible for setting our own expectations on the floor and raising our own bar as the season progresses.”