STORY BY JAKE DONOVAN | PHOTOS BY DEB SCALLY
The Franklin Rebels boys basketball team came up big on the road, registering a 67-60 win over the hosting Ravenwood Raptors in their District 11-AAA matchup Tuesday evening at Ravenwood High School.
Senior shooting guard Reese Glover continued with his hot hand, pouring in 34 points for a hot Rebels team who has now won five straight. Reed Kemp added 10 points and seven rebounds, with three-point sharpshooter Jordan Bruce kicking in 14 points.
Chase Siebert scored 21 points for the Raptors, who played near flawless basketball but just couldn’t close the gap in the end.
“Whether it’s by one point or 20 points, one thing I always say is we’ll never apologize for a win,” Franklin head coach Darrin Joines told Home Page. “Anytime you’re in a district game, you know it’s going to be a tough night. I knew that Coach (Patrick) Whitlock would have his team ready; we knew it would take an effort like this to leave Ravenwood High School with a win.”
It was a battle every step of the way, until the Rebels were able to pull away in the final four minutes. The Raptors put its best foot forward early, relying on the inside presence of senior center Sterling Craig, who scored four of his 19 points in the first three minutes of the game. Junior guard Rex Gainer (12 points) drained three three-pointers in the first quarter that ended with the Raptors enjoying a 17-15 lead.
“We didn’t make many mistakes and I thought we did a good job of focusing on Reese without losing sight of the weapons around him,” Raptors head coach Patrick Whitlock told Home Page. “Glover is just simply one of the best shooters to come out of this area in the past 10-15 years. He’s gonna find a way to score, but when they get guys like (Bruce and Kemp) getting open and hitting threes, they’re just a tough team to stop.”
Even in holding Glover to 11 first-half points, the Rebels surged ahead on the heels of timely buckets from Bruce, Reed and senior center Ahsharri Haynesworth (8 points, 5 rebounds).
Once the game transitioned into the second half, it quickly became the Reese Glover show.
The Missouri Western State commit dropped 23 of his game high 34 points in the final 16 minutes, scoring 13 of the Rebels’ 16 3rd quarter points.
“They did a good job of smothering me in the first half, I couldn’t get my shots off,” observed Glover, who is averaging 28.1 points per game this season. “My teammates did a great job spreading out the floor (in the second half) and creating openings for me to drive to the basket.”
Still, it was only enough to extend Franklin’s lead to five, as Siebert and Craig did their best to respond every time the game threatened to get away from the Raptors.
“We played really well as a team, we did so many things right and left it all on the court,” noted Siebert. “I did my best to not force my shots, which was a big difference in the second half. It just wasn’t enough.”
Siebert added eight more points in the final quarter, but only went toward trimming the deficit as the Raptors trailed the entire second half. They came within four inside the final three minutes, but back-to-back Glover baskets permanently kept the game out of reach.
“We played so well tonight, we just have to wake up Wednesday morning and focus on the next game on the schedule rather than the final score on Tuesday,” noted Whitlock.
That next game comes versus the Dickson County Cougars, whom the Raptors will host in a second consecutive home district game on Friday.
“They’re the ones who knocked us out of the tournament last year,” notes Siebert, already mentally preparing for the next adventure. “We’ve been looking forward to that game this year, and we’ll be ready on Friday.”
They will have to wait until the new year before attempting to avenge Tuesday’s loss to Franklin, who is 26-11 lifetime versus the Raptors’ boys basketball squad including having won the last four head-to-head meetings.
The last Raptors’ win over Franklin came in Jan. ’17.
The Rebels return to the court on Friday, when they host the Page Patriots in district play.