Last Monday night began the 2nd Annual Class 2-A Basketball Tournament. Opening games of the sectional round of the tournament took place at Warren East High School as the Franklin-Simpson Lady Cats and Wildcats took on the Warren East Lady Raiders and Raiders last Monday night. The winners of both games advanced to the semifinal round at Hart County High School in early January.

Boys

Franklin-Simpson 64, Warren East 62

Senior Demarco Chatman led all scorers with a game high of 18 points with juniors Andreyous Miller and Kyjuan Stutzman each scored 13 points as Franklin-Simpson jumped out to a big lead early and lost it, but had the resolve to battle back late and came away with a 64-62 victory to advance to the semifinal round of the Class 2-A Sectionals portion of the tournament.

"It's great to come off a losing streak," Demarco Chatman said. "Feels good to come out this game with a "dub. The comeback started with our defense. We sped them up to cause some turnovers and finished it off on the offensive end."

"This win is huge," Wildcats head coach Dee Spencer said. "Anytime you lose two in a row, we needed this especially the way we finished this game for the win. The main goal is not to panic and they did a great job of continuing to play and pay attention to do what we are doing."

The Wildcats jumped out to a hot start in the first quarter as Stutzman scored seven points with Chatman scoring five and Miller adding four. Raiders' sophomore Kaleb Matlock also scored seven points as Franklin-Simpson led 25-15 at the end of one.

Warren East chipped away at their 10-point deficit in the second quarter as seniors Ryan Carter and Brayden Wardlow combined to score 10 of the team's 15 points. Chatman, Miller and Stutzman combined to score all 10 points in the quarter for Franklin-Simpson as they led 35-30 at halftime.

"We just had to keep hustling," Kyjuan Stutzman said. "We went into the locker room at halftime and thought about our mistakes and come out and play harder."

The Raiders rallied as the lead changed on three different occasions. Sophomore Devaughn Williams' basket gave Warren eAst a 41-40 lead. But junior Isaac Marshall's 3-pointer for the Wildcats gave them back the lead, 43-41. Senior Brayden Wardlow's 3-pointer tied the game for the third time at 46-46 and junior Sam Wheeler's free throw gave Warren east a 47-46 lead at the end of three.

Five points from senior Tatum Simmons led Warren East to their biggest lead of the game, 60-53. Franklin-Simpson rallied as senior Tedric Partinger ignited an 8-0 run with a traditional three-point play and a breakaway layup for a 61-60 lead.

"We had to dig deep and get rebounds and that's what set off the comeback," Tedric Partinger said. "Coach (Spencer) told us to get into the press and we had to turn the speed of the game up and get stops. We have experience in these type of games. Just do better in taking care of the ball and we learned that from other games."

Senior Logan Sanders' jumper gave the Raiders a 62-61 lead but Stutzman's steal and layup off an inbounds pass put the Wildcats back on top 63-62 He also added a free throw for a two-point lead. With 1.5 seconds left in the game, Franklin-Simpson forced Warren East into a turnover for the come from behind 64-62 victory to advance to the next round of the Class 2-A Tournament.

"We maintained," Andreyous Miller said. "We didn't panic. We just made plays, kept on pressing and play like dogs, play our game .

"We relaxed, stop rebounding. They started making shots. Got to give those guys credit. They didn't stop playing," Spencer said. "They came out in the 3rd Quarter and took it to us. You know how momentum is. Once it starts, it is hard to stop. We did a good job of getting some buckets down to slow them down."

Ryan Carter and Kaleb Matlock each scored 12 points for Warren East with 11 points from Brayden Wardlow and Tatum Simmons adding 10.

Girls

Warren East 54, Franklin-Simpson 25

Freshman Hadley Turner led the Lady Cats with nine points as they struggled with the Lady Raiders' athleticism and length as they eliminated Franklin-Simpson in the Class 2-A tournament.

"We had more turnovers than we did points. I would say 75 percent of the turnovers was of our own doing," Lady Cats head coach Lex Lindsey said. "We got to decide if we want to play hard and compete. Good news is that the sun comes up tomorrow and we have another game to play. We just didn't play well and hats off to Warren East. Good luck to them against Hart County."

Warren East led wire to wire throughout the game as in the 1st Quarter, junior Lucy Patterson scored four points to lead a balanced attack. Freshman Hadley Turner also scored four points for the Lady Cats as they trailed 11-7 at the end of the first.

Franklin-Simpson was stymied in the 2nd Quarter by the pressure defense and inability to make shots. Turner made the only field goal of the quarter as they only scored five points. Warren East extended their lead to double digits as senior Kelsey Sparks made two 3-pointers and freshman Tanaya Bailey also scored six points as the Lady Raiders led 25-12 at halftime.

The Lady Cats' shooting woes continued as they once again as McCutchen's field goal was the only shot they made from the floor in the 3rd Quarter. Bailey and Patterson combined for seven points with two points each from senior Hailry Hymer and junior Caroline Forrester for a 36-16 lead at the end of the third.

Freshman Le Le Partinger made Franklin-Simpson's 3-pointer of the game in the 4th Quarter. Warren East got five points each from Patterson amd freshman Jordyn Downey. Senior Olivia Price added three points as the Lady Raiders advanced to the next round of the Class 2-A Tournament with a 54-25 victory.

""We got off to a slow start but they started putting things together offensively, scored some points, and played defense," Lady Raiders head coach Jenny Neville said. "We tried to create a lot of points off turnovers from our press. We don't try to let them be comfortable and a lot of times,we mix things up. Maybe play some half court traps with some press. Tanaya Bailey had 10 steals tonight and we may make a turnover but just turn around and play some defense. We are very athletic. If they work hard, good things will happen."

Warren East was led by Lucy Patterson scored a game high of 16 points with Tanaya Bailey pouring in 11 points with Kelsey Sparks adding eight.

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