STORY AND PHOTO BY JAKE DONOVAN
Franklin trailed the entire way versus a high-octane Cane Ridge squad, yet remained a threat until the very end in a 76-73 loss in the Middle Tennessee Invitational Tournament 3rd place game Saturday at Franklin High School.
An inspiring 4th quarter rally came up just short for the hosting Rebels, with Reese Glover called for traveling prior to hoisting an attempted game-tying three-pointer as time expired.
Glover led all scorers with 29, with the Missouri Western commit serving as Franklin’s lone representative on the All-Tournament team.
Cane Ridge sprinted out a red-hot start, with William Hoyle scoring 14 of his 17 points in a 1st quarter that saw the Ravens hit five three-pointers. An early three-pointer from Rebels guard Reed Kemp (5 points, 2 assists, 1 steal) suggested an early shootout but instead provided the lone spark in a Rebels offense that was slow out the gate.
Franklin stepped up the pace in the 2nd quarter, a session that saw Glover score 11 of his game-high 29. It was only enough to keep pace with the Ravens, who led by 12 at halftime and by 19 heading into the 4th quarter.
The inside presence of senior Ahsharri Haynesworth (18 points) and sophomore Matt Thurman (18 points, 11 rebounds) kept the game from completely getting away. The tandem combined for 12 4th quarter points and were key in contesting enough Ravens shots to provide a ray of hope.
Haynesworth sparked the last-ditch effort with a pair of put backs, bookending a Hoyle 3-pointer at the start of the 4th quarter. Thurman responded with back-to-back baskets of his own before a jumper by Kyle Elliott put the Ravens back up by 16 with roughly 6:00 to go.
A pair of three-pointers by Glover followed by a jumper ignited a 12-0 run for the Rebels which saw Cane Ridge’s offense fall out-of-sync at the worst possible time. The Ravens managed just three points in the final six minutes, all coming at the free throw line.
Brandon Miller (15 points)—who was named along with Elliott to the All-Tournament team—sank two foul shots late to give Cane Ridge a five-point lead. The Ravens then called time-out to discuss defensive strategy, using the session to point out all of the three-point shooters on the Rebels side.
It wasn’t the long ball, but a spin move by Thurman down low to put the Rebels within three. A quick foul by Haynesworth put the Ravens back at the line, but with Hoyle missing both free throws to give Franklin one shot at sending the game into overtime.
Instead, it ended with Glover gigged for a travel violation, which came as a surprise but ultimately rendered moot. Even without the call, the shot he managed to release fell shot as the buzzer sounded.
Franklin went 1-2 during the MTI tournament, which was revived in celebration of its 60th anniversary dating back to 1958. They opened the session with a nine-point win over Rossview on Thursday before suffering a heartbreaking 71-70 overtime loss to East Nashville in yet the latest instant classic entry in their exhiliarting rivalry.
East Nashville—whom Franklin bested on a Glover 3-pointer in the closing seconds of their season-opener—went on to win the tournament, rallying to bump off district rival Stratford in a memorable 92-90 overtime thriller. The two meet once again on Friday for the first of two regular season District 10AA matchups.
Franklin also returns to the hardwood on January 4, hosting Summit High School in District 11-AAA play. The game is their first of three straight at home, including a January 10 rematch with Cane Ridge.