By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
WRENTHAM, Mass. – Franklin got off to a strong start on Friday night and that momentum carried the Panthers to a 72-59 road win over King Philip.
The Warriors kept things close in the opening quarter, with Tom Madden cutting the deficit to four (11-7) but Franklin responded with a run to stretch its lead. The Panthers rattled off a 9-0 run that included a Connor Goldstein three pointer and for points from Paul Mahon, who had five of his 13 points in the first quarter. The run gave Franklin a 20-7 lead after eight minutes.
With Franklin big man Connor Peterson (18 points, five rebounds) on the bench to start the second quarter due to foul trouble, KP quickly put four points on the board, but Franklin quickly answered back with four of their own. A huge quarter from Josh Macchi, who scored 10 of his 13 points in the second period, had Franklin up 36-25 heading into the second half. The key in the first half for Franklin was the production from the bigs in Macchi and Peterson (seven first quarter points).
“They switched on a lot of screens…they switched on everything just like they did last time, [a 64-49 Franklin win] and we came in knowing that if they were going to continue to switch the little guys and the big guys, that we just had to continue to pound away at it and get in there,” Franklin coach CJ Neely said after the game on the performances from his bigs.
In the third quarter, both teams came alive from beyond the arc and seemed to trade threes on every possession. After a layup to open the frame, the teams combined for four straight threes, including two in a row from Franklin freshman Chris Edgehill, who added two more threes for 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter.
“Chris has really progressed throughout the year, he’s a freshman obviously, he’s been playing point guard a pretty high level, leading the team, he’s advanced and him hitting those shots and spacing the floor after they started collapsing on the big guys, he got some open stuff and was knocking it down,” Neely said.
King Philip junior Justin Vine (four rebounds) emerged as a problem for the Panthers in the third quarter. Vine scored all eight of his points in that frame, including two threes, to keep the Warriors within striking distance.
Franklin took a 55-42 lead into the fourth, but a 6-0 KP run — started by a three from Kyle Layman (13 points, six rebounds) — cut the Franklin lead to just seven at 55-48.
After Franklin looked to pull away again following two free throws from Edgehill and a layup from Peterson, but KP’s Seth Sullivan (12 points) hit one of his four threes on the night to bring the lead back down to eight.
After Peterson responded with another layup of his own, Pharoah Davis (12 points, three rebounds) finished on a fast break down the other end, but Franklin was clutch at the free throw line down the stretch, going 7-8 from the line in the fourth quarter to seal the 72-59 win.
Next week, both teams will participate in tournaments over February break. Franklin (16-4, 14-2) begins play Monday at noon at Franklin High School against Cardinal Spellman. King Philip (6-13, 5-11) will head to Somerset Berkley on Monday at 6:30 PM to take on the Raiders.