Last Friday night at the F-S Gym on Frank Cardwell Court, the Franklin-Simpson Wildcats hosted the Todd County Central Rebels in their first of two 13th district matchups in January.
Their first meeting of the season was comparable to games of the past - tough, physical and grinding as both teams were looking for their first district win of the season. In the end, the Wildcats came away with the 47-37 victory to improve to 1-1 in the district while the Rebels fall to 0-2.
"We'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss anytime," Wildcats Head Coach Dee Spencer said. "We didn't play very well. I think we are having a habit of playing to the level of our competition but tonight, I thought sophomore Kadyn Lowe came in and gave us a lift off the bench. We still have to do a better job of making free throws and layups. We didn't do a good job of rebounding. They were in the game early because of their offensive rebounds so we must do a better job of cleaning up the glass. We're too big to not be able to rebound well regardless of John (Calvery) in the middle. But overall, I'm just happy to get the district win tonight."
With four points from junior Dayveon Harris and junior Dawson Knight adding a 3-pointer, the Wildcats jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first quarter. Rebels' junior Austin Rager scored five straight points, including a 3-point basket cutting the deficit down to 9-7 at the end of the first.
Todd County Central took their first lead of the game at 11-9 with consecutive baskets from junior Tanner McCuiston and freshman Preston Moore. Franklin-Simpson regained the lead late in the first half as Harris scored three points with two free throws from junior Demarco Chatman and a basket from sophomore Andreyous Miller that made the score 16-14 at halftime.
With baskets early in the third quarter from senior Jevon Covington and Chatman, Franklin-Simpson extended their lead to 20-14. Todd County Central scored eight straight points with back-to-back 3-point shots from senior Clayte Weathers and junior Deonte Toliver tied the game at 20-20. Junior D.J. Johnson's basket gave the Rebels the lead at 22-20. The Wildcats closed the quarter on a 9-0 run. Chatman's basket tied the game for the fifth time at 22-22 and Knight drained his second 3-point shot of the game giving the Wildcats the lead once again 25-22. Baskets from both Chatman and Miller gave Franklin-Simpson a 29-22 lead after three.
"Just wanted to help the team to get this win tonight. I'm just trying to do anything to help the team and tonight, it was the 3-pointers," Knight said. "We came out slow so we needed to pick up the effort a bit and we did that in the second half for the win."
The Wildcats scored six straight points to open the fourth quarter for their first double digit lead of the game at 35-22. Rager hit two 3-point shots for the Rebels that cut their deficit down to eight points on two separate occasions. Miller's free throw gave Franklin-Simpson a double digit lead once again and with Harris' basket, the Wildcats defeated the Rebels 47-37 to pick up their first 13th District victory of the season.
"We came together tonight and got the district win," Harris said. "Todd County Central fought hard, but Franklin-Simpson fought harder and we wanted this win tonight. We held it down on the defensive end by getting a lot of stops. We didn't shoot well tonight and we didn't rebound well either but the stops made up for it."
Demarco Chatman scored a game high of 13 points with Dayveon Harris adding 11 points for the Wildcats. Austin Rager led the Rebels with 11 points as he was the only player that scored in double figures.
"Getting this win feels good," Chatman said. "We got off to a slow start in the first half. The score definitely showed that but in the second half, we came out and picked it up and got the win. Shots weren't falling at the beginning of the game. Coach (Spencer) got into me in the locker room and said that we got pick it up. I picked it up in the second half and helped the team pull out this win."
Franklin-Simpson heads to Russellville in an important 13th District matchup on Friday night at 6 p.m. 1220 WFKN Franklin radio will broadcast the girls/boys doubleheader beginning at 5:45 p.m. and on the internet at www.franklinfavorite.com
TCC 7 7 8 15 37
F-S 9 7 13 18 47
TCC (37) - Rager 11, Toliver 8, McCuiston 5, Moore 5,
Weathers 3, Calvery 2, Johnson 2, Briggs 1
F-S (47) - Chatman 13, Harris 11, Miller 9, Knight 6,
Partinger 4, Covington 2, Stutzman 2