STORY BY CHIP CIRILLO | PHOTOS BY DEB SCALLY
MURFREESBORO – Franklin waited 30 years to get back.
It ended quickly after a third-quarter blitz.
Bearden made a 26-0 run in the third quarter to hand the Rebels a 76-46 loss in a Class AAA quarterfinal, spoiling Franklin’s first state-tournament appearance in three decades at the Murphy Center on Wednesday night.
“We knew they were a team that could make runs, and boy, it happened fast,” Rebels coach Darrin Joines said. “The game was kind of going the way we wanted it to go. They put a little heat on us.”
Franklin (28-7) made seven turnovers and Bearden (30-5) dunked twice during the run.
“I thought we coughed it up a little bit there in the third quarter, but once they got it going — I’m telling you — it was hard to get that stopped.” Joines said. “Then when we got behind, we had to play faster than we wanted to.”
Franklin kept the game at a much slower pace in the first half when it took a 21-19 lead at the break.
“The game got faster and I think they were a little more uncomfortable with the tempo being different and we love that tempo,” Bulldogs coach Jeremy Parrott said. “We love it when we know we can get the upper hand. We can also play slow if we need to.”
Explosive runs are nothing new for Bearden, which set a school record with a 47-point quarter in a win over Hardin Valley last season.
Parrott wanted to play at a fast tempo with full-court pressure in the first half, but several early fouls prompted him to be cautious.
“We were hoping it was just a matter of time before the avalanche started,” Parrott said.
Reese Glover led the Rebels with 24 points, including six 3-pointers, in his final high school game before moving on to Missouri Western.
Asharri Haynesworth, a 6-5 center, added 16 points and 12 rebounds. The senior hit 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
Haynesworth and Glover combined to make 13 turnovers.
“I think we turned it over too much,” Haynesworth said.
Bearden outscored Franklin 32-6 in points off turnovers.
Glover buried his head on the interview table after the loss, but he accomplished a lot at Franklin.
“I just want to thank our community for always having our back,” Glover said. “I think we’re going to be a really good program next couple of teams. I thought we had some momentum, but that third quarter just killed us.”
Franklin had a four-point lead early in the third quarter, but by the end of it, the Rebels were down by 23. They never got closer than 20 in the fourth quarter.
“I think their length up front probably bothered us a little bit,” Joines said. “They’re a good team. They’ve been here three years in a row and you could sort of tell it.”
Trent Stephney scored 16 points to lead Bearden as all five starters scored in double figures. The 6-1 guard also had game highs with eight assists and four steals.
Tennessee signee Drew Pember, a 6-10 wing, enjoyed a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The senior also had four blocked shots and four assists as the Bulldogs won their 18th straight game.
Joines doesn’t think Franklin will wait 30 more years for its next appearance in Murfreesboro.
“Well, I don’t think it’s our last trip,” Joines said. “I think it’s going to be, hopefully, a pretty regular thing.”
The loss ended the Rebels’ eight-game winning streak.
“The thing I like that we did – I’m not a huge fan of, ‘you can lose two or three times and keep playing,’” Joines said of the postseason format. “I just don’t like it. I think there are a couple of games we ought to get rid of when people are trying to lose games to play a better opponent. We won every game to get here. That’s pretty special.”
Bearden’s Ques Glover, a Mr. Basketball finalist, scored 15 points. Roman Robinson had 14 and Shamarcus Brown scored 12.
“The press, that really brought us energy and got the crowd into it, and that helped us out,” Glover said. “Normally, when we press, we really go up big on a lot of teams and get a lot of points transition.”
Bearden faces Whitehaven (25-7) in Friday’s semifinals.
The Bulldogs shot 60 percent from the floor, including 13 of 16 shooting as they pulled away in the fourth quarter.
Franklin shot 32 percent from the field.