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Rebels Win District Tournament for First Time Since 2007

District Champions
District Champions

For the first time since 2007, the Franklin Rebels are the District 11-AAA tournament champions. The Rebels, the ninth-ranked team in Class AAA, raced out to an early lead and held off Brentwood in an explosive fourth quarter to claim a 74-65 win Tuesday at Dickson County High School

"This means so much to us," said Franklin senior tournament and regular season MVP Reese Glover. "I don't know how to explain it right now. It's just a great feeling, but now it's on to region and on to state. That's our goal. "We will enjoy this tonight and be ready for more." Interestingly enough, the last time Franklin won a district title, Glover's older brothers Ryan and Reed were wearing Maroon. "It's pretty special," Rebels coach Darrin Joines said. "We have got bigger goals, but the thing that is pretty neat, is that no matter what happens, you can't take away that we won the regular season and the tournament … That's very, very difficult to do." Glover scored 17 points and handed out three assists in the win. Sophomore Reed Kemp led the Rebels with 19 points, five steals and four dimes. "We just put our foot on the gas and the rest is history," said Kemp, who was named to the All-Tournament team. "This feels great, but we are not satisfied, we still have a lot to do." Kemp hit 11-of-14 at the foul line with most of those coming when the game turned into a free throw shooting contest for the Rebels down the stretch. Franklin went 29-of-39 at the line.

The two teams combined for 70 points in the final eight minutes. The Bruins outscored Franklin 38-32 in the fourth quarter – more than doubling their point total from the first three quarters. Glover drilled a 3-pointer as time expired at the end of the third quarter to push Franklin in front 43-26. That lead went to 20 early in the fourth, but Brentwood turned up the full-court pressure and chipped away over the final six minutes.  Brentwood coach Greg Shirley said he was proud of how his team kept fighting to the end. "A lot of teams in that same situation would have dropped their heads and the game would have been over," he said. "I'm just proud of us for showing a lot of character to continue to play hard."

John Windley led the Bruins charge with 16 of his 20 points coming after the half, while Cole Massey scored 11 of his 14 in the second half as well. The pair also combined for five 3-pointers after the break. "We gave up baskets, too," Shirley said, adding that a couple more stops could have made for an even tighter finish. The game was tied at 4-4 and featured only one lead change as the Rebels controlled the game from the get-go by scoring 17 of the first 21 points. The Bruins bounced back to pull within 21-15 late in the second before Franklin again found its rhythm. Matt Thurman added 13 points and Ahsharri Haynesworth tacked on 11 with six rebounds for the Rebels, who supplied answers for nearly every Brentwood push in the fourth. Windley's 3-pointer with 1:37 to play was the last time the Bruins got within seven at 67-60. Twenty seconds later after two missed Franklin free throws, Brentwood coughed up a costly turnover and had to foul Glover who hit two free throws to extend the lead. A Massey jumper with 41 seconds left trimmed the Rebels lead to 71-63, but Matt Thurman took a trip to the foul line and hit both to make a 10-point cushion again. 

"We got a little scrambled up and rattled a little bit when they pressed," Joines admitted. "(Brentwood) earned a lot of that, but once we weathered that storm, we settled in." Shooting foul shots in the double bonus through the fourth quarter helped. Three Bruins ended up fouling out. Brentwood hosts the Region 6-AAA tournament this week. The quarterfinals for the girls will be played on Friday, while the boys take to the court Saturday. Franklin, which was up-ended in the district semis last season but went on to win the region, will face McGavock Saturday. The Bruins will battle regular season District 12-AAA champion Cane Ridge. The Ravens were tipped by Hillsboro 66-56 in the district semis on Friday.

Franklin boys 74, Brentwood 65, District 11-AAA Championship

BHS – 4 11 12 38 – 65

FHS – 13 11 18 32 – 74

BHS (64) – John Windley 8-11 2-2 20, Preston Moore 0-5 2-2 2, Harry Lackey 4-13 4-5 12, Cole Massey 5-11 0-0 14, Ben Mills 3-6 4-4 10, Joey McPherson 1-2 2-2 5, John Franklin Burks 0-1 2-2 2, Evan Drennan 0-1 0-0 0, Griffin Burke 0-0 0-0 0. Totals – 21-50 16-17 65.

FHS (74) – Ahsharri Haynesworth 3-6 4-8 11, Reese Glover 5-16 6-6 17, Reed Kemp 4-7 11-14 19, Jordan Bruce 2-4 3-3 9, Matt Thurman 4-4 5-8 13, Jacob McGraw 0-0 0-0 0, Finlay Long 1-1 0-0 3, Luis Sanchez 1-1 0-0 2. Totals – 20-39 29-39 74.

3-point goals – BHS 7-26 (Massey 4-8, Windley 2-5, McPherson 1-2, Burks 0-1, Lackey 0-5, Moore 0-5); FHS 5-16 (Bruce 2-4, Long 1-1, Haynesworth 1-1, Glover 1-9, Kemp 0-1). Rebounds – BHS 25 (Lackey 6, Mils 5); FHS 27 (Haynesworth 6, Kemp 4, Bruce 4). Assists – BHS 14 (Moore 4, Lackey 3, Massey 3); FHS 12 (Kemp 4, Glover 3). Steals – BHS 7 (Massey 2); FHS 9 (Kemp 5). Turnovers –BHS 14; FHS 11. Total Fouls – BHS 25; FHS 14. Fouled Out – Moore, Massey, Mills.

Video Highlights:  https://youtu.be/LbTlY92Ur1Q

Source:  Williamson Herald