By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Franklin starting guard Kevin Gill picked a pretty good time to hit his first three of the season.
With the Panthers trailing 52-44 with just over two minutes to play, Gill took a feed from Josh Macchi and drained the triple from the right side to get within two possessions.
After Franklin’s defense forced a turnover on the other end, Gill picked an even better time to hit his second three of the season. Once again it was Macchi playing the role of playmaker, finding Gill wide open in the corner and he drained it.
And then after neither team could hit a go-ahead basket, the teams headed to overtime. That was the best time for Gill to hit his third three of the 2015-2016 campaign. Franklin’s lead was just one as time ticked under a minute in the extra period when Gill found himself in the corner — this time the left side — and hit nothing but net to give the Panthers the lead for good.
Gill helped Franklin cap a big comeback and score a 65-60 win over Foxboro in overtime.
“I knew we needed a big shot and I just happened to be the right place,” Gill said. “I got the ball off of a drive and I just let it go and it felt good when it went in. Making the first one boosted my confidence a lot. I missed one in the first half and I kind of faded out a little bit.
“We knew we just had to make the run first and strike first in overtime and not look back. Foxboro’s a great team but we were able to overcome their runs.”
Macchi got into it himself in the overtime period, hitting an open three to open up the scoring and put Franklin up 55-52. Two free throws from Jason Procaccini (17 points) brought Foxboro within one before Gill’s third triple of the night.
“If he’s shooting the ball, we’ll have four guys in the starting line up that can shoot threes and that will be a problem [for opponents] and then [Peterson] and Macchi will have the inside,” Franklin coach CJ Neely said. “We’ve been encouraging [Gill], we’ve been telling him you have to be able to shoot. You can’t allow teams to sit in the paint, you have to take a couple just to keep them honest. I’m really, really happy for him.”
After freshman Jay Dieterle finished at the rim to expand Franklin’s lead to six with 37 seconds to go, Foxboro suddenly go within two points. Mark Clagg hit the front end of a one and one and then after Foxboro kept possession, Clagg drained a deep three to cut it to 60-58.
Gill knocked down a free throw at the other end but missed the second. Clagg had another go at a deep three that was halfway down, but rimmed out. The Panthers hit their last four free throws to seal the win.
It was all about runs early for the visiting Warriors. Back to back three’s from Andrew Block and Procaccini and layups from Joe Morrison and Robby Lowey (12 points) capped a 10-0 run for Foxboro to end the first quarter, giving the Warriors a 17-10 edge.
Defensive stops at the end of the second quarter helped the Warriors keep a seven point cushion heading into halftime (30-23). Another 10-0 run, with four points from Procaccini and Mark Clagg (11 points) each and two from Alex DuBrow, suddenly the Warriors held a 17 point edge (40-23) over Franklin.
“We knew it was going to be a game of runs,” Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs said. “Both teams have a lot of offensive talent, I think we were the two leading scoring teams in the league coming in. We knew both teams would go on some hot streaks. When we jumped out to that big lead, we certainly knew it wasn’t over, we knew they had a run in them.”
Over the final five minutes of the third and the final eight minutes of the game, Franklin slowly chipped away. To finish the third quarter, the Panthers had a 12-2 run to get within single digits. Macchi had six of the points while Sam Harrell, Tim Prunier and Dieterle each added two apiece.
“[Foxboro] came right and kicked our butts right out of the locker room to start the second half,” Neely said. “I thought we were panicking a little, throwing jump passes, we were on our heels which is totally uncharacteristic for us.
“It was about getting back to who we are. It’s toughness, it’s defense, it’s getting stops at big times and amping up the pace a little bit. Jon [Gibbs] does such a good job, those guys execute so well. It’s like a quarterback sitting in the pocket, when DuBrow is able to sit back there and see everything he’s one of the best players in the league if not the area. I think we had to get up on them and make it difficult for them. I think we sped them up a little bit and made them make decisions a little bit faster.”
Franklin got within four (44-40) behind a three from Dieterle and a pair of free throws to start the fourth but with 3:30 to play, a circus layup from DuBrow put Foxboro back ahead by 10.
Out of a timeout, Prunier got to the basket for two and after Foxboro came up short on the other end, that’s when Gill’s heroics were set in motion.
With 20 seconds left and the game tied at 52-52, Neely elected for a timeout. With just 11 seconds on the shot clock, the Panthers were unable to get a shot up after a pass was fumbled. With just five seconds to go, Foxboro ran a nice double screen to get DuBrow the ball and he drove along the baseline, sucking in the defense and he dished to Lowey but Macchi came from behind with help defense and blocked the last second shot attempt to send the game to overtime.
“We said we needed to get back to basics and get back to who we are,” Neely said of overcoming the 17 point deficit. “When we were down [by 17], we started to call a couple of sets, I told Timmy [Prunier] to be a little more aggressive. When he’s move aggressive then other guys get open. [Connor] Goldstein kind of goes under the radar but he spaces the floor and it opened a lot up, and got us some offensive boards. We got [Josh] Macchi in there to try and get us some offensive rebounds and he played his best game of the season by far.”
“After they made their run I was proud of the way we hung in there,” Gibbs said. “I thought we did a good job of fighting through the adversity, which was something we did a poor job of against Taunton. I thought tonight we responded well, we took the punch and hung in there but we just couldn’t hold on. Coming down the stretch, Franklin just made a couple more plays and shots than we did. I’m so proud of the way that our guys battled, they played their guts out and gave everything. Sometimes it just comes down to whether the ball goes in the basket but give credit to Franklin, they made a couple more plays than we did down the stretch.”
Prunier’s 18 points and four rebounds led the Panthers while Dieterle had 13 points and four rebounds and Gill had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists. Macchi had 11 points, eight rebounds and two [vital] assists.
Procaccini had seven rebounds to go with his 17 points, Lowey had six boards along with 12 points and DuBrow finished with eight points, seven assists, and six rebounds.
Franklin held a slim 30-28 edge in rebounding and had made 13/15 of its free throws compared to 8/12 for Foxboro. The Warriors were just 1/11 in the second half and overtime from three point range while Franklin was 5/14 in the second half and overtime.
The Panthers (7-1, 5-1) remain in a three way tie for first place in the Kelley-Rex but something will have to change when they travel to rival Mansfield (6-1, 5-1) on Friday for a 6:30 tip. Foxboro (6-2, 4-2) still remains atop the Davenport and will take a trip to Oliver Ames on the same day and time.
Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
- McAloon’s Hit Helps Cement Legacy For Taunton’s “Big Three” - 07/06/2021
- Girls Lacrosse Photos: Franklin vs. Westwood - 07/02/2021
- Franklin Falls Short In South Final To Xaverian - 06/29/2021