Seven weeks ago, Centennial's Dusty Williams drove a dagger into Franklin's bid for an undefeated district season with a last-minute layup for a 63-61 Cougar win. Friday night he had the chance to do it again, but his desperation throw bounced away as the Rebels avenged their only district loss with a 47-45 win on the road. "It was typical," said Centennial coach Pete Froedden. "When we play each other, it seems like it's always a last possession game."
It looked like the game was going to be a runaway early. Ahsharri Haynesworth, who transferred from Centennial to Franklin earlier in the season, scored seven points against his former teammates in the first four minutes as the Rebels ran out to 10-0 lead. The Cougars charged back with eight straight points and trailing by only two at the end of the first quarter, 10-8. Centennial struggled in the second stanza, falling behind 19-14 before Matt Thurman went on a tear, scoring the last seven points of the quart in just over three minutes to give the visiting Rebels 26-14 halftime lead. The Cougars owned the third quarter, going on an 11-4 run behind Tre Carlton's five points, and hung with Franklin in the fourth, moving to with two, 44-42, in the final minute of the game. Glover tallied 17 points to lead the Rebels and seemed glad to get out of the Cougar's Den with a victory. "Obviously it's a huge rivalry game, so it always means a little bit more. They've kind of had our number – they've beaten us more than we've beaten them in my career." He also got help from Haynesworth's 14 points and 11 rebounds and another 11 points and nine boards from Thurman.
"For where we want to go, I can't do it by myself," Glover said. "It's a team game and every part is just as important as another and I think that's a key to our future. Whatever I need to do to win I was ready to do." The homecoming for Haynesworth was enjoyable, he said, but even when his Rebels took a double-digit lead, he knew enough about his opponents to know what was coming. "We knew they were going to make a run," Haynesworth said. "They are a really good team, so we had to keep our composure." Franklin head coach Darrin Joines was glad to have Haynesworth on his side of the court. "That kid has got a motor, he's got a serious motor," he said. "You've got to reel him in sometimes, but I'd do that rather than cast him out. Tonight, he was the calm in the storm and we really needed that."
Centennial's Tre Carlton led all scorers with 22 points on the night, taking a somewhat philosophical approach to the loss. "It's very disappointing, but it shows us what the best in the league is and what we need to do to improve so next time we'll be ready," the junior said. Even Froedden found a positive to soften the blow of the loss. "We got down 12 quick and I thought out kids kept grinding and showed some grit to try to stay within striking distance," he said. "We didn't play our best, but just the grit to able to overcome how we were playing … I was proud of our kids."
The game was played in a near state tournament atmosphere, with live coverage from MYTV-30 and WAKM-AM radio, two packed student sections and a near standing-room-only crowd filling the rest of the gymnasium. It was a combination not lost on Joines. "This is just a special place to play, being in this county," Joines said. "There is nothing like it. I came from a county that is pretty good and a school that was really good. But when you talk about every game, there is nothing like it." Centennial (16-8, 9-4 District 11-AAA) gets little rest, facing Brentwood Academy Saturday night at Lipscomb's Allen Arena before hosting Spring Hill Tuesday night. Franklin (20-4, 12-1 District 11-AAA) travels to Summit Tuesday night with a chance to secure at least a share of the district title.
Franklin boys 47, Centennial 45
Franklin 10 16 4 17 – 47
Centennial 8 6 11 20 – 45
CENTENNIAL (45) – Tre Carlton 22; Brown 8; Wall 6; Ellison 4; Garrett 3; Williams 2.
Free Throws – Franklin 9-11; Centennial 6-12.
Source: Williamson Herald