Broncos battle strong foes and ‘injury bug’

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2024

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By Frank A. Davis and Titus Mohler

Franklin High School’s injury-plagued varsity boys basketball team had lost three of its last four games entering its big rematch with visiting Brunswick High School on Wednesday, Jan. 24, but the Broncos’ lone victory during that stretch helped them maintain their footing near the top of the district.

After falling 66-51 to Bertie High School, of Windsor, North Carolina, on Jan. 15, the Broncos rebounded to rout Tri-Rivers District foe and longtime rival Sussex Central High School 60-26 at home on Jan. 17 to improve to 7-1 in the district.

Franklin came out of the gate to earn a big first quarter lead of 30-10 against Sussex. It did not get any better for the Tigers, as the Broncos were way ahead at the half with a score of 41-19.  

In comments after the game, Franklin Head Coach Robby Cutchins said it was a “great overall team win with a very high effort from everyone, including our bench tonight. 

“The key word there is our ‘bench,’ simply because that is something we have been reaching for all season,” he continued. “We have been trying to create a little rotation and get some quality minutes from the guys off our bench to make us a little stronger and more consistent across the board. Tonight, we were able to do that. 

“The old saying goes, ‘You play like you practice,’ and tonight we were finally able to show that again after coming off what may have been one of our best practices of the season last night,” Cutchins said. “Our energy level from our starters and our bench guys was simply electric. Obviously, that carried over into the start of the game with a great defensive effort to start the game, which ultimately led to our biggest first-quarter output dating back years and far as I can remember after we were able to put up 30 in the first frame.”

He noted that it was great to see his players’ hard work paying off.

Cutchins explained that the Broncos have battled a lot of adversity this year, and “the injury bug” has been part of it.

“Our starting point guard missed his fourth game in a row tonight with a foot injury, which has caused us to have to move some guys around and do things they aren’t accustomed to doing,” he said. “Then our two top guys in (Chaevon) Torrance and (Kaden) Bailey have both been plagued with injuries in their own respect for quite some time now. Although they continue to fight through, it is hard — night in and night out — to not only be playing short handed but (to have) guys on the floor for most of the game playing less than 100% (healthy). 

“But I commend the boys for continuously fighting and leaving their best out there,” the coach added. “Hopefully we can get a full deck back on the court soon, as we have a tough stretch coming. But again, great overall team effort by everyone tonight, and some of the bench guys really grew up out there tonight.”

The Broncos had three scorers finish in double figures. They were senior Kaden Bailey, with 15 points, senior Chaevon Torrance, with 13 points, and junior Kamarre Hicks, with 12 points. 

For the Sussex Tigers, junior Royce Wilson led in scoring with seven points.

On Friday evening, Jan. 19, Franklin fell 64-56 to visiting district opponent Greensville County High School (14-3, 9-1 Tri-Rivers) and then lost 60-45 to host Kellam High School, a Virginia High School League Class 5 school, on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 20.

The Broncos (10-7, 7-2 Tri-Rivers) are set to host the Brunswick Bulldogs (12-3, 8-1 Tri-Rivers) on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m.