The Franklin County Flyers didn’t forget what happened on Jan. 13.
On Friday they made sure it didn’t happen again.
The FCHS boys basketball team defeated Woodford County 58-48 in the 41st District championship game at the Frankfort Convention Center, avenging its 89-74 home loss to the Jackets.
“They came out on our home court and won,” said FCHS’ Ryan Timmons, the tournament’s MVP. “We didn’t play well, and we had to make a statement.”
That’s just what the Flyers did.
Trailing at halftime and for much of the third quarter, FCHS took a late lead in the third and never relinquished it.
Both Franklin County (16-15) and Woodford County (20-12) will play in the 11th Region tournament this week at Eastern Kentucky University.
FCHS led early Friday, going up 13-12 at the end of the first quarter and 16-15 early in the second.
Woodford closed the quarter with an 8-3 run, taking a 23-19 lead at halftime.
The Yellowjackets came out and took two five-point leads in the third quarter, both with the help of 3-pointers from David Greenwell, but FCHS rallied midway through the third to regain the advantage.
“I told them it was all about defense,” FCHS coach Scott Chalk said. “If we win it will be because of defense and not anything else. The first time they didn’t have Jay (Johnson). We played pretty good defense in the second half, got the lead, salted it away and got the win.
“The second time we came out and I don’t know if we were overconfident, but we didn’t play defense early and they lit us up.”
Down 35-30 with 4:01 left in the third, the Flyers scored six straight points on two baskets by Timmons and two free throws from Garrett Hamilton to take a 36-35 lead.
The game was tied at 38-38 with two minutes left in the quarter, and Franklin County took the lead for good on a free throw by Chris Roberts with 1:32 remaining. A layup by Timmons gave FCHS a 41-38 advantage at the end of the third.
Woodford opened the fourth quarter with a free throw from Eli Boggess, but FCHS answered with eight straight points – two each from Roberts, Hamilton, Casey Tabor and Timmons – for a 49-39 lead with 2:05 left in the game.
The Jackets went on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to four with 1:33 remaining, but three free throws by Tabor and a layup by Eric Meyer pushed the lead back out to nine, 54-45, with 30 seconds left.
“We didn’t let up at the end of the game,” Timmons said. “The lead was close, and we played hard the whole game.”
Give credit for that to the Flyers’ preparation for the tournament.
“We had a great week of practice, and that’s what set the tone,” Roberts said. “Coming into this we knew we could win it. They came in and got us on our home floor, and we came to get them back.”
The Flyers held WCHS to 30 percent shooting. Johnson led the Jackets with 13 points, and Greenwell and Rodney Gross both had 11.
“We knew we had to come out and play defense for 32 minutes,” Chalk said. “Everyone has paid attention a lot more the last two weeks. When everyone listens, everyone is into it, you get a lot more done.
“Greenwell was the main focus for us,” he added. “We felt like he beat us last year. He hit some big shots and took over the game. Eric Meyer did a good job on him. He controlled Greenwell as well as he could.”
FCHS also had three players in double figures, led by Timmons with 17. Tabor and Roberts both had 12 points. Roberts also had 13 rebounds and Hamilton had 10 as the Flyers won the battle of the boards 44-36. Timmons finished with six assists and six steals.
“Jay did what he does,” Chalk said of Johnson. “He gets some points because he’s so big. Chris did a great job on him, and we had other guys who helped down low.
“Casey did a very good job tonight offensively and defensively and making those free throws late,” he added. “He played a really good game, and Garrett did a nice job. He played two solid games.”
Tabor went 7 for 8 on free throws, all in the fourth quarter.
Friday’s victory avenged not only the loss on Jan. 13 but the loss in last year’s district final to Woodford County.
“That’s from having five or six practices where everyone is listening, the JV and varsity.” Chalk said about his team’s play Friday. “You can’t be confident if you’re not prepared.”
WOODFORD CO. (48) – Aaron Stover 2, William Starcher 3, Eli Boggess 3, Addison Hollin 5, Jay Johnson 13, Rodney Gross 11, David Greenwell 11.
FRANKLIN CO. (58) – Casey Tabor 12, Eric Meyer 6, Ryan Timmons 17, Garrett Hamilton 6, Rylan Rowe 3, Chris Roberts 12, Greg Maupin 2.