Broncos defense shows its strength
Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Franklin High School’s varsity boys basketball team has been testing and flexing its credentials as a top-tier defensive squad in the latter half of January as the Broncos (17-2) march toward the end of what has been an outstanding regular season for the program.
THE BRONCOS TAME THE DRAGONS
On Friday, Jan. 27, Franklin routed host and district opponent Appomattox Regional Governor’s School 68-20 in what Broncos Head Coach Robby Cutchins described as “another great overall team effort in a game where we were able to get our bench a lot of playing time.”
Franklin junior center Chaevon Torrance led the way on offense with a game-high 21 points, while senior wing Jordan Myrick added 15 points, and senior point guard Derrick Perry had 10.
FACING THE HIGH-POWERED PANTHERS
Earlier that day, Cutchins took some time to break down the Broncos’ three prior contests, starting with a Jan. 16 showdown with North Carolina powerhouse Washington County High School (14-1). The game ended up being Franklin’s second loss of the season, but Cutchins was pleased with how his team handled the challenging task of playing the Panthers, who he said are the No. 2 team at their level in Carolina.
“They are also the highest-scoring basketball team offensively in the state of North Carolina, so that was a real good test for our defense, which is also ranked No. 1 in the state (of Virginia) at points per game allowed,” Cutchins said. “So I knew we were up against a tough battle.”
The Broncos fell 59-51 but held the Panthers to their second-lowest point output this season, second only to the total they produced in their lone loss, a 53-51 defeat to Bertie High School.
“We did a great job defensively, and we did exactly what we wanted to do,” Cutchins said. “Offensively, we didn’t get things going until the third quarter.”
Once Franklin gained traction offensively, it took the lead, 37-36, with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter.
Cutchins said the Broncos “ran out of gas down the stretch,” but he thought it was a great contest to test and develop his team.
Myrick finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Torrance added 12 points, 12 boards and four blocks.
BRONCOS REBOUND AGAINST THE DUKES
Returning to Tri-Rivers District play on Jan. 20 at Windsor High School, Franklin recorded a 65-46 victory.
“First off, hats off to Windsor,” Cutchins said. “They’re a really improved basketball program. They’ve come a long ways, and their starting five is really good. They did a great job offensively, actually jumped out on us early, led the game 15-4 in the first quarter. And then we made a rally at the end of the first quarter to take the lead and then control the game the rest of the way.
“I thought we did a really good job defensively,” the coach continued. “It took us a little while, offensively, to get going in that game as well.”
Torrance had 20 points, seven rebounds and five blocks, junior shooting guard Kaden Bailey contributed 18 points, and Perry added 14 points.
DEFENSE SHINES VERSUS COUGARS
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, the Broncos went to Surry County High School and earned a 66-37 win.
“We’ve hung our hat on defense all year long,” Cutchins said. “We’re giving up just under 40 points a game, and the same thing happened at Surry the other night. We did a great job defensively, controlled the boards. I think we outrebounded them two-to-one overall and just did a great job controlling the tempo, caused a lot of turnovers and were able to score in transition and get everybody some playing time.”
Torrance, who is in his first year with the Broncos, scored a game-high 24 points to go with 12 rebounds and three blocks.
“He’s been a great addition,” Cutchins said. “He’s a great young man. He’s put in a lot of work this early in the school year, and he’s really come a long ways in a very short amount of time. It’s cool to see when young men put in the kind of work that he has, right before the season and during the season, to see it pay dividends in that current season, because a lot of times that doesn’t always happen. But he has gotten a lot better, gained a lot of confidence as the year has gone on.”
Perry registered 19 points, six boards and three steals against Surry County, and Bailey chipped in eight points as well.
Entering their game Tuesday night, Jan. 31, against visiting district rival Brunswick High School, the Broncos were 12-0 in the district and No. 1 in Region 1B.