Western Hills’ boys basketball team was playing well Friday, maintaining its lead into the second half against Franklin County.
And then it started raining 3-pointers for the Flyers.
FCHS (12-8) connected on 12 3-pointers, six in the third quarter, as it closed out regular-season district play at home with an 80-51 win over the Wolverines.
“We were right there with them for two and half quarters,” WHHS coach Geoff Cody said, “and in the third quarter we hit a wall.
“They hit six 3s in the third quarter and 12 for the game. Any time a team hits 12 3s it’s going to be tough to beat them.”
Leading the way for the Flyers was senior Rylan Rowe, who hit a career-high eight 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 34 points.
“This year I’ve been in a really bad slump,” Rowe said. “Me and Coach (Gordon) Miles have been working on my shot. I take a rack of balls and shoot the whole rack from every single spot for 3-pointers.
“I think that helped. I’ve been staying after practice for an hour and 30 minutes.”
That work paid off Friday.
Western Hills (2-20) was leading 36-28 with 3:55 left in the third quarter when Rowe hit a 3. That started an 11-point run that ended with two free throws by WHHS’ Keaton Anderson with 2:13 left in the third and made the score 39-38.
The Flyers responded with another run, this one good for 13 points, and they led 52-40 going into the fourth quarter. Rowe connected on four 3s in the third, and Lorenzo McCaskell had two.
“We started to get some ball movement, and we didn’t have that in the first half,” FCHS coach Tommy Johnson said about his team’s play. “In the first half we stood around.
“In the second half there was more flow, and we moved more on offense. That led to open shots, and when we got open shots we knocked them down.”
As happy as he was with his team’s offense, Johnson may have been even happier with his team’s defense.
“I was pleased with our second half effort on defense,” he said, “especially not giving them straight layups to the basket. In the first half they’d have one or two passes and get a layup, and no one would contest it.
“In the second half we didn’t give up any of those.”
It was Western Hills that led nearly the entire first half. The Wolverines were up 14-9 after the first quarter and 22-14 with 4:19 left in the second period.
FCHS put together a 9-0 run to go ahead 23-22 with 2:03 remaining in the first half, but Western Hills regrouped and ran off three straight layups — two by Macaulay Hurst and one by Kory Waller — and the Wolverines led 28-25 at the break.
“They took it to us,” Johnson said. “They weren’t intimidated, and they were ready to play.”
Western Hills opened the third quarter with an 8-3 run that ended with a layup by Patrick Foley, giving WHHS a 36-28 lead with 3:55 remaining in the period.
The Wolverines went more than 3½ minutes without a field goal, ending that drought with a layup by Kyle Fisher with seven seconds left in the third. Two free throws by Anderson accounted for WHHS’ other two points in the final four minutes of the period.
“We came out ready to play,” Cody said. “We were executing in the first half. Everything they threw at us we were able to respond to, and then we hit that lull.
“Hat’s off to Rowe because he was in a zone. He’s a good basketball player.”
FCHS had two other players in double figures — Ryan Schneider with 15 points and Chris Roberts with 12.
The Wolverines were led in scoring by Anderson and Waller with 17 points apiece.
Franklin County played at Jeffersontown Saturday. Its next home game is Tuesday against Lafayette.
Western Hills’ next game is at Bourbon County Tuesday.
WESTERN HILLS (51) — Kyle Fisher 7, Macaulay Hurst 6, Keaton Anderson 17, Kory Waller 17, Patrick Foley 4.
FRANKLIN CO. (80) — Quenton Brownlee 5, Ryan Schneider 15, Chris Roberts 12, Rylan Rowe 34, Demetrius Wylie 6, Lorenzo McCaskell 8.
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