Getting better

Improved Panthers give Flyers tough game

By Nate Parsons Published:

Nearly a month ago, Franklin County easily beat Frankfort.

That was not the case Tuesday night.

FCHS opened the second half with an 11-1 run to break open a nip-and-tuck game and beat FHS 68-55 in 41st District play at F.D. Wilkinson Sports Arena.

“We beat a good Frankfort team. They are way better than when we played them the last time,” said FCHS coach Tommy Johnson, whose team beat FHS 67-47 Dec. 17. “Coach (Nick) Barton does a heck of a job with those guys and we had to bring it tonight. This was not an easy win at all.”

But it was still a win, a win that keeps the Flyers (8-6, 4-0) in the running for the No. 1 seed in the district tournament.

“We do want that No. 1 seed for the district and we set ourselves up,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to get one more Friday, then we’ve done what we wanted to do.”

FCHS did what it wanted to do Tuesday night — at least in the second half. A game where the margin never got larger than four in the first half quickly changed after halftime.

The Flyers scored the first six points of the second half and 11 of the first 12 to take a 37-27 lead. Junior Ryan Schneider and sophomore Demarcus Kennedy each hit 3-pointers during the spurt and senior Lorenzo McCaskell hit another one to make it 43-31.

Two 3s from sophomore DeShawn Newton right before the end of the quarter helped the Panthers cut the lead to 47-39. But Schneider opened the fourth quarter with a 3 that sparked a 16-6 run and gave the Flyers an 18-point lead.

“We really didn’t change a lot in the second half, we were just fresher than they were,” Johnson said. “We went deep into our bench, which is what we do a lot in games, and it allows us to stay fresh in the second half where a lot of other teams wear down because they don’t play as many people.”

Schneider led a balanced attack for the Flyers with 17 points and seven rebounds. Senior Rylan Rowe had 16 points, senior Matthew Lee added 13 points off the bench and McCaskell finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.

“That’s one of the things that we like to do is spread the wealth,” Johnson said. “It’s what we plan to do on a regular basis.”

Junior Jalen Washington scored 10 points and Newton added 10 points off the bench for the Panthers (3-13, 1-4). Junior Jeff Quire had eight points and eight rebounds.

“I knew coming into this game that it’d be a good little test for us just to see where we are as a basketball team and how far we’ve come in a month,” FHS coach Nick Barton said. “In the first half we proved that we’ve made a lot of improvements and have done a lot of good things. We just got tired in the second half and the little things that you need to do right on every single play, we just didn’t do them.

“I continue to be proud of my guys. I continue to be proud of their improvement in practice and transferring what they’re learning in practice to the game.”

Both teams are back in action Friday with FCHS hosting Woodford County at 8:15 p.m. and FHS going to Western Hills at 8 p.m. for another district game.

FRANKLIN CO. (68) — Quenton Brownlee 2, Demarcus Kennedy 5, Matthew Lee 13, Lorenzo McCaskell 12, Rylan Rowe 16, Ryan Schneider 17, Taylor Waltston 3.

FRANKFORT (55) — Jalen Washington 10, Tre Winkfield 4, DeShawn Newton 10, Travis Skelton 5, Anthony Robinson 9, Jeff Quire 8, Matthew Smith 9.

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