STORY BY JAKE DONOVAN | PHOTO BY DEB SCALLY
With a pivotal district clash versus Brentwood looming ahead, it would have been too easy for District 11-AAA leading Franklin to look past the struggling Spring Hill Raiders.
That is, if the Rebels’ coaching staff obsessed over big games more than the season schedule as a whole.
“There’s no truer saying than that the most important game on the schedule is always your next one,” said Franklin head coach Darrin Joines, whose team shot 66% from the floor in an 86-35 win Friday evening at Spring Hill High School.
Ahsharri Haynesworth led the Rebels and all scorers with 23 points. The senior post had a perfect shooting night, hitting all 10 field goals and going 3/3 from the free throw line.
More impressive in the eyes of his coaches was the hustle exuded for the entirety of his time on the court.
“I pointed this out with Matt (Thurman, Franklin’s sophomore center) on Thursday and we saw it with Ahsharri tonight, grabbing rebounds from well outside his area,” Joines noted in admiration. “He had nine rebounds and most of them were away from the basket.”
Malachi Young was the lone Raider to reach double figures. The senior guard scored 13 for Spring Hill, who shot just 26% from the floor.
As was the case in the preceding girls game—which the Lady Rebels won 73-35—the Rebels never trailed at any point, outscoring the hosting Raiders in all four quarters. Franklin jumped out to a 26-10 lead after one, which grew to a 50-20 lopsided affair by halftime.
Hustle points were key, as was efficient ball movement. A sound team effort led to a season high 25 assists being dished out on 35 baskets.
“Anytime you shoot well, you’re normally passing the ball well,” pointed out Joines. “I’d say delivering assists on more than 70% of your field goals shows we moved the ball well.”
Reed Kemp led with 8 assists, with the sophomore also adding 13 points. Senior guard Reese Glover dished out five dimes, adding 8 points on just 7 shots on the night.
It was a night where the Missouri Western commit wasn’t obligated to hit near his average of 25.7 points per game. Franklin saw point production from all 11 eligible rostered players.
“It’s how you want to finish the first half your district schedule,” Joines said of the complete team effort. “We were able to get everyone involved, which really spoke to everyone’s focus entering the game. Regardless of our records, this is still a rivalry game and anything can happen in this district.”
Franklin closes out its first half atop District 11-AAA. Their 7-1 record matches that of the Brentwood Bruins, owning the tiebreaker thanks to a 71-63 win in their district home opener in November.
The two powerhouses meet again Tuesday, as Franklin travels to Brentwood for its second straight home game.
“With the first half over, now we can look ahead to Tuesday,” states Joines. “We went 7-1 after playing everybody once. The trick now is to see if we can do it again. You can’t compare apples to apples. It’s a good frame of reference, but now we have to go out and prove in the second half that we are still the team (to beat).”
Spring Hill (1-7 in District 11-AAA) embarks on a three-game road trip, beginning with Tuesday’s clash with Dickson County.