The Franklin-Simpson Wildcats got off to a horrendous start but played much better to take control of the game for a 59-53 victory over the Muhlenberg County Mustangs, from the 10th District of the 3rd Region, last Saturday night at the F-S Gym.
The Wildcats scored one point in the 1st Quarter with a free throw by junior Andreyous Miller. The Wildcats missed open shots and layups that put them in an early, large deficit. Junior Nash Divine scored four points and with senior Noah Phillips' 3-pointer, the Mustangs led 13-1 at the end of the first.
The one point scored by Franklin-Simpson in the quarter did not sit well with the coaching staff.
"We started off slow. Nothing was falling for us. We got one point in the 1st Quarter and coach (Spencer) got into us," Demarco Chatman said. "We just had to keep playing hard. Once the players got into their rhythm, we started to ball and came out with a win"
"Very rough start to any game when you score one point," Wildcats head coach Dee Spencer. "We missed seven layups in the quarter. Thought the guys were trying to be cute, trying to avoid getting their shot blocked. I challenged them a little bit and they responded."
The Wildcats responded in the second as senior Tedric Partinger scored the first field goal of the game for the team. They cut their deficit down in spurts as Partinger scored four straight points with senior Chatman and freshman Jalen Briscoe doing the same. Junior Kyjuan Stutzman scored on a traditional three-point play. Stutzman's free throw along with Miller's basket at the end of the 1st Half erased their 1st Quarter deficit to tie the game 25-25 at halftime.
Chatman's basket early in the third gave Franklin-Simpson their first lead of the game 27-25. Muhlenberg County regained the lead 30-29 with free throws from juniors Isaac Rose and Cole Vincent. Stutzman's 3-pointer gave the lead back for the Wildcats. Baskets from Chatman and junior Isaac Marshall and Stutzman's second 3-pointer at the buzzer gave them a 41-34 lead at the end of three.
Chatman led Franklin-Simpson with eight points in the 4th Quarter with Miller adding four points and Partinger with three as they extended their lead to as high as 12 points. Vincent scored 12 points in the quarter for the Muhlenberg County with Rose adding three points as their rally came up short as the Wildcats came away with the 59-53 victory.
"We weren't focused and didn't play hard," Kyjuan Stutzman said. "I think we were a little fatigued from the Russellville game. We're trying to catch out breath, get our legs going and we came out in the 2nd Quarter focused and ready to play."
Chatman led the Wildcats with 18 points with Kyjuan Stutzman adding 16 points.
Mustangs' junior Cole Vincent led all scorers with a game high of 19 points as he was the only player that scored in double figures for his team.
"It wasn't pretty but you know, we'll take it," Spencer said. "We do a good job of playing defense, just stop fouling so much. We speed teams up and do a good job of playing at that pace."