STORY BY JAKE DONOVAN | PHOTO BY DEB SCALLY
For the second time in as many games this season, the Franklin Rebels survived a major scare from a young Summit Spartans squad to remain atop the District 11-AAA mountain.
A putback by sophomore Matt Thurman with 0:13 left provided the margin of victory as the Rebels upended the Spartans in a 51-49 road win Tuesday evening at Summit High School.
Senior guard and Missouri Western commit Reese Glover led all scorers with 19 points, although he had to help the Rebels rally after trailing throughout the first half.
Summit freshman Keaton Wade was the lone other player to reach double figures, leading the Spartans with 16 on the night. His twin brother Destin added six, while sophomore James Werts scored eight.
Franklin struggled out the gate, falling behind early but slowly chipping away at Summit’s eight point lead after one quarter of play.
Normally a team who lives and dies by the three, the Rebels had to rely on shutdown defense to finally slow Summit’s momentum. The Spartans saw its impressive first half performance go for naught after just a two-point 3rd quarter as Franklin pulled ahead.
It didn’t last very long, with more than a half-dozen lead changes in the final eight minutes.
Konata Werts—who posed a menacing offensive presence for Franklin’s defenders in the first meeting—was held to just four points on Tuesday, but two came at the most opportune time. The sophomore playmaker hit a running jumper following a Summit timeout, giving the Spartans a 49-48 lead with just 32.8 seconds in regulation.
Franklin immediately called timeout to discuss what was planned for the game’s final possession. It ultimately became a busted play gone right, with Jonathan Bruce (six points) coming up short on a jumper, only for Thurman (9 points, 8 rebounds) getting in position to tip it in and give the Rebels a lead with just under 0:13 to play.
The sophomore post once again came up big in the game’s final possession, pulling down a rebound to preserve the win.
Franklin (13-1) remains in control of its own destiny. The Rebels are a perfect 10-0 in 2019, including 9-0 in district play, extending its district win streak to 10 straight. The lone loss of the 2018-19 season came last December versus crosstown rival Centennial, which they avenged in a two-point win last Friday.
Next up for the Rebels is a road trip to Dickson County on Friday, followed by a home season finale versus Spring Hill next Tuesday. A win in either of those games will clinch the regular season district title for Franklin, who owns a tiebreaker over second-place Brentwood with its pair of wins over the Bruins.
Summit (6-8) snaps a two-game win streak with the heartbreaking loss, hoping to rebound on Friday when they travel to Page High School. The Spartans will close the season with a home game versus Dickson County, whom they are currently projected to face in the first round of the District 11-AAA postseason tournament.