Senior staff writer
It took five games, but Franklin Central’s boys basketball team finally found its offense for its first win of the season.
Franklin Central upended host Perry Meridian 71-63 Friday as five Flashes scored in double figures.
“We almost forgot what it felt like,” Franklin Central coach John Rockey said. “With the game on the line I thought we were smart in getting the ball down low and our kids were finishing.”
The Flashes last win came in the semifinals of the Whiteland Sectional in March before their string of three straight sectional titles came to an end against Center Grove.
But back to Friday night.
Perry Meridian was in line to win its third game in its last four. The Flashes jumped ahead 9-3, led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter but lost the lead twice before tying it 29 on Adam Taylor’s 3-pointer before halftime.
The game turned in the first 90 seconds of the third quarter when FC scored nine unanswered points. The Flashes extended their lead to 49-35 and never trailed although the Falcons tied it at 57 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game.
FC senior Nick Hall scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, and 6-3 forward Donta Harris scored 6 much-needed points. Harris wound up with 14 points and nine rebounds, senior Jace Waltz added 12 points, sophomore Isiah Morgan 11 and freshman Mason Gonzales 10.
“He (Harris) is aggressive; he’s a strong dude,” Hall said of his teammate. “That was a big win. We’re playing together and starting to get into the groove … we were motivated; we didn’t want to lose.”
Hall closed the game with an in-bounds pass under the basket to Harris for and easy two points and hit the Flashes’ last free throw for the final 71-63 count.
Falcons senior Gabe Patterson scored a game-high 20 points, and 6-3 freshman Jayden Taylor added 19. Perry went on a 24-10 run in the second half to force a tie but were outscored 14-6 down the stretch. The Falcons committed four turnovers in the final two minutes.
Perry Meridian (2-5, 1-1) and Franklin Central (1-5, 1-1) met for the final time as Conference Indiana foes on the hardwood. The Falcons move to the Mid-State Conference and Franklin Central goes to Hoosier Crossroads next season.
The Flashes won again Saturday against visiting New Palestine 69-66, withstanding a furious fourth-quarter comeback by the Dragons. FC led 55-36 going into the fourth quarter. Harris led with 16 points, Morgan 13, and Hall 12.
Also last week, host Scecina ended Roncalli’s unbeaten string of five wins Saturday by winning 38-31 in double overtime.
Beech Grove (5-0) remained unbeaten as Kenny Washington scoring 17 points in a 62-51 win over Lapel; Greenwood ran its record to 4-1 by defeating Speedway 52-39; No. 8 Center Grove (6-1) smothered rival Whiteland 56-35; and Jalen Jackson’s 32 points led Manual (5-3) past Northwest 62-46.
The 10-game Manual Showcase begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and concludes with Manual meeting Chicago Marshall at 9:30 p.m. Local teams include Warren Central playing at 12:30 p.m., Cathedral at 3:30 p.m., North Central at 5 p.m., and Ben Davis at 8 p.m.
Holiday tourneys: Dec. 26 and 27, Lutheran at Edinburgh; Dec. 27-29, Franklin Central at Richmond; Dec. 29, Beech Grove at Tri-West; and Dec. 29 and 30, Greenwood Christian at Monrovia.