Franklinville Pulls Away Late To Down Sherman
No. 3 Franklinville did not play its best basketball on Tuesday night during the Section VI Class D boys basketball semifinal at the Physical Education Complex on the campus of Jamestown Community College, but the Panthers did play with enough smarts to move past No. 2 Sherman, 61-43 victory.
The Panthers (19-3) were able to move past what was a low-scoring defensive battle early in the game and get their offense going with 25 points in the final period, with many of those coming at the foul line after the Wildcats (16-6) were forced to try and close the gap late.
Carrying Franklinville through the final eight minutes was an incredible 11-point stretch from Sam Erickson, in which the senior forward completed a three-point play, had two makes at the foul line and a pair of underhand finishes following drives in the lane.
“Sammy will understand that I would have wanted him to do that even earlier, and I think he probably could have,” said Franklinville coach Jeff Haskell. “Not that we don’t share it, we need to share it, but I think we needed to slash a little more early and he figured that out and thank goodness he did. He’s got the heart of a lion.”
For two teams that like to shoot the ball and run the floor at a high pace, the evening started out on a surprising defensive note, with Franklinville carrying a lead into the second quarter at just 9-7.
Isaac Kopp was able to bury a long-range make for the Panthers for a 3-0 lead after both teams struggled to find buckets in the opening minutes, while Jared Gleason got Sherman started with a make in the lane and a dish to John Swabik for the second Wildcat bucket.
“I knew there would be a lot of nerves for both teams and nobody seemed to make shots,” said Sherman coach Cory Emory. “My belief is, if one of the teams would have started making shots then the other one probably would, because we both for being good shooting teams had a tough shooting night. Did I know that we could play defense like that and they could? Yeah. Did I expect it to be as low scoring in the first half as it was? I did not expect that.”
After Gleason was able to pick up another bucket on a baseline drive, the Panthers set to work at the foul line with two buckets from Darren Clark and then another two by Erickson to maintain a lead at 18-14.
Sherman was able to get some momentum going towards the end of the third quarter after Tanner Ramsey pulled up an let fly from very long range for a 3 before Gleason was fouled on an attempt from beyond the arc, subsequently making all three of his shots from the charity stripe.
A putback by Ramsey and a pair of makes at the foul line by Caleb Burick made it 39-35 in favor of Franklinville, but that narrow margin kicked off the start of Erickson’s run, and from there the Wildcats were forced to look for fouls in order to close the gap.
“We knew that this is kind of their home and they work as hard as anybody,” said Haskell. “We knew that their energy is off the charts, their guards are not big but they have huge hearts and they’re everywhere and Gleason works his tail off. We knew that they would be shooting the 3 and following the 3. At first we didn’t feel like we did a good enough job (with that).”
The Panthers would improve their rebounding down the stretch as Erickson finished with 11 in addition to his 24 points, while Clark grabbed 10 boards and nine steals to go along with his 17-point night.
“So much talk was made of us and maybe being in the finals against East, we told ourselves we couldn’t look past this one, and I don’t think we did, but we certainly didn’t play our best,” said Haskell.
Gleason’s evening would include a team-high 16 points, two steals, one assist, one block and nine boards while Ramsey would finish with 12 points, three steals and four rebounds.
Franklinville will now take on No. 1 Buffalo East on Friday at 6 p.m. for the Section VI title at the Physical Education Complex.
Blecha 3 1 7, Erickson 8 7 24, Kopp 3 0 8, Clark 3 10 17, Burton 1 3 5. Totals 18 21 61.
Gleason 3 9 16, Ayers 0 0 0, Burick 0 2 2, Beatman 3 0 6, Ramsey 4 3 12, Meeder 1 0 2, Swabik 2 0 5, Kopta 0 0 0. Totals 13 14 43.
3-point goals–Gleason, Ramsey, Swabik, Erickson, Kopp 2, Clark.
Franklinville 9 12 15 25–61
Sherman 7 10 12 14–43