STORY BY JAKE DONOVAN | PHOTOS BY DEB SCALLY
There’s still work left to do next week in Murfreesboro, but Reese Glover wanted to make sure there wasn’t any stone left unturned in his last-ever home game.
The senior guard and District-11 AAA Player of the Year didn’t disappoint, exploding for 36 points in the Rebels’ 63-42 win over the visiting Gallatin Green Wave in Monday’s Class AAA Sectionals at Franklin High School.
“I’m gonna tell you this, not that anybody is more important than anybody else—but I knew it’d be Glover tonight,” Franklin head coach Darrin Joines said of the prolific scorer. “I just knew it. I am 100% not surprised by that performance out there. It was incredible.”
It was enough to put Franklin (28-6) in the Class AAA State Tournament, its first berth since 1989—when the Rebels won it all.
With “The Rebellion” (Franklin’s cheering section) out in full force well before opening tipoff, the Rebels already sensed something special was in the air for their second-straight trip to sub-state. They came within six points of advancing to state, dropping a 52-46 heartbreaker to Mt. Juliet, who’d been to that very point for their fourth-consecutive year.
This time, it was Franklin who entered as the veteran team welcoming to their home court a young Gallatin squad boasting just one senior—Larodre Clark, who scored 15 points in the loss, while junior swing Beljwok Adaing led the visitors with 16 points.
Fittingly, the Green Wave advanced to this point by bumping off Mt. Juliet in a major upset during the Region 5-AAA semifinals.
The battle of experience versus youth was evident from the first quarter, as the Rebels initially worked the ball down low—where senior transfer Ahsharri Haynesworth (7 points) and sophomore Matt Thurman (9 points) enjoyed considerable mismatches.
But it was their perimeter threat which quickly proved unmanageable for the Green Wave.
“We didn’t shoot the ball real well early and they did,” noted Gallatin head coach Bobby Luna. “Our offense was good as far as moving the basketball. We didn’t play above or below who we are. We’re limited on some things offensively.
“My fear was that they’d pound us inside on the first 2-3 possessions, which they did. Then they started shooting the ball from the perimeter. They’ve got some special players. Glover is a special player, as is his ability to make shots even when defended.”
Glover found his stroke early and spent the rest of the night putting on a show for the ages. The Missouri Western commit had 13 points by the end of the 1st quarter, at which point Franklin—who led the entire game—sprinted out to a 21-4 lead.
If there was a moral victory for Gallatin (19-15), it would come in a 2nd quarter where the Green Wave managed to outscore Franklin 16-14. Unfortunately, it only meant the team as a whole keeping pace with Glover, who had 18 by halftime but wasn’t close to being done.
The senior would pour in another 13 in the third quarter, opening up the second half with a three-pointer from roughly 35’ out. A 13-3 run had Franklin up 48-35 midway through three and the rabid crowd already making plans for Murfreesboro.
“It’s almost incredible,” Joines said of the community involvement for the Rebels’ incredible run this season. “If you’ve seen bigger and better, let me know. In fact, I’ll pay a ticket to watch. I don’t think anyone is better at supporting their team than those guys are.”
They’ve been given plenty of reason for which to cheer. Franklin entered the New Year with a 10-5 record, sitting atop the District 11-AAA standings but still yet to truly separate from the rest of the pack. An 18-1 mark since January 1 managed to do just that, its lone loss in 2019 coming against Dickson County on a night when Franklin had already clinched the regular season district title.
From there came championship wins in the District 11-AAA and Region 6-AAA tournaments, with Glover nabbing MVP honors to go along with his District 11-AAA Player of the Year award. By the time he left the game with less than two minutes to go on Monday, 36 more points were added to a career tally now 13 points shy of 2,500 in his incredible career.
“I had no idea how close I was to that,” Glover said afterward, still soaking in the ambiance of his final home game. “It’s a great milestone, but I’m more excited about going to state.”
It’s a feeling he gets to keep all to himself as it relates to his basketball family. His older brothers Ryan and Reed were standout ballers at Franklin High School as well, leading their teams to sub-state in 2007 and 2009, respectively, but never any further.
The youngest Glover made it just as far as they did last season, but has once again managed to one-up his siblings.
“(Reese) is a legend in this school,” Joines said. “That family is legendary to this school. Those brothers, they played in four sub-state games – 2007, 2009 and now Reese back-to-back years. He’s got something on his brothers now and I’m sure he’ll talk trash to them now.
“But that’s been a special, special family to our school. He’s just something else. He’s the most dynamic scorer I’ve ever seen – certainly the most dynamic I’ve ever coached.”
Glover’s scoring touch will undoubtedly be heavily relied upon heading into the state tournament at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) beginning March 13. By that point, he believes the rest of the state will finally get to witness the finished product of the Franklin Rebels.
“Coach Joines keeps saying, we haven’t played our best game yet and I believe it,” insists Glover. “I mean, we’re playing great, but we gotta keep it rolling. We have so much potential and I know we’ll come out and play our hardest, and hopefully win state.”