The next step of the boys basktetball brackets are up. Franklin and Oil City will play Tuesday night in Slippery Rock while Rocky Grove travels up 322 to Meadville.
Franklin (21-2) is to face Mercyhurst Prep (10-13) at 6 p.m. at Slippery Rock University in the District 10 class 3A boys semis. Oil City (15-8) boys will take the same court after Franklin warms it up to face Grove City (14-8) in the 4A semis.
Rocky Grove (18-5) will face West Middlesex (13-10) at 6 p.m. at Meadville High School in the 2A semis.
These contests are not elimination games. Losers move on to the consolation games. Championship and consolation games will be Friday night. Three teams will move on from District 10 into the state playoffs in 3A and 4A. Rocky Grove is guaranteed a bid in the state final as 2A is taking four teams out of District 10.
But the prize in sight for all three teams is to hoist the hardware over their heads Friday and cut down some nets.
In light of the upcoming game between Franklin and Mercyhurst, we thought we'd share a few pictures we took 10 days ago at a ninth-grade matchup between the two schools. The afternoon shoot-out, which included quite a number of three-pointers, ended with Franklin on top 62 to 55. It was a glimpse into the future of the strong Franklin varsity program.
From the get go Franklin girls just seemed a step behind the Grove City Saturday at Mercer High School in the opening round of the D-10 championships. It was a solid year for the Knights who played hard down the stretch to earn a fifth seed in the playoffs.
Below see more photos from Saturday's action.
Thanks ladies for a fun seasonn to watch. We expect a couple individual district awards heading your way.
Six wrestlers from the Cranberry squad qualified for the North West Regional Tournament after placing in the top four at the District 9 competition Saturday.
“This is one of the best showings we’ve ever had at a district tournament,” said Cranberry head coach Dustin Wenner.
Leading the way for Cranberry was freshman Elijah Brosius won the 106-pound weight class. He went 3-0 on the day and earned a decision over Clarion’s Logan Powell in the final match. Earlier in the day he recorded a pin and a technical fall.
“Devyn Fleeger was kind of our big surprise,” Wenner said, referring to the sophomore as the “talk of the tournament” for Cranberry. Fleeger came into the competition seeded fifth in the 152 bracket. In his second bout of the day, he won a 2-0 decision over second seed Caleb Furgeson of Port Allegany.
“It was a big upset,” Wenner said.
Fleeger finished the day in second place.
Also earning a second was junior Brayden McFetridge, who competed in the 215 weight class.
Conneaut Area representatives will be champions sophomore Hunter Gould at 120 pounds and junior Collen Hearn at 160 pounds. Saegertown has six wrestlers moving on, including senior Hunter Robison who won the 113-pound division.
Cambridge Springs and Maplewood each have two qualifiers.
See additional photos at sayerrich.zenfolio.com/p747975047.
(Editor's note: The story was updated to include the District semi-final game information and the Erie First Christian scoring stats.)
Sometimes you feel sorry for a team.
The photo above is telling in that it features mostly Franklin's starters getting excited at the end of the game. These kids were on the bench, not because of foul trouble or disciplinary measures, but because they just put up so many points it didn't make any sense at all to let them risk getting injured or to keep putting up even more points against a small squad of kids from Erie First Christian who just are not really in the same league of ability. Why rub it in on a group of kids who are just out trying as hard as anyone else.
Franklin is just a very, very good basketball team.
Erie came out looking like they might compete, they scored a quick four points and it was 5-4. Then Franklin turned it on. Full court pressure put up point after point. Erie scored two more in the first and two in the second quarter. They added only four more in the third. Against Franklin's bench, they only scored six in the fourth.
At the end of the game, excitement filled the gymnasium as the Knights seemed destined to reach the century mark. The game ended 94-18, but it wasn't an exciting game because it was such a lopsided affair.
The Knights have what it takes to go all the way, but they need to be focused when challenged and rise to the occasion when things aren't going as smoothly as they are accustomed to. The great test for the Knights, as they start plating tougher and tougher teams, will be just how well they hold their composure and overcome having to play better and better teams.
Their next test will be against the 10-13 Mercyhurst Prep Lakers at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Slippery Rock University. In that game, Easton Fulmer will become Franklin's all-time leading scorer when he hits his first bucket.
Down the stretch, the Knights will need to avoid falling into the Buster Douglass syndrome where the underdog dominates the superior. If they stay focused they should be able to hoist the district trophy. Coach Jason Fulmer is likely coaching lessons like Douglass' upset over Mike Tyson or the New England Patriots' undefeated season ending in a Super Bowl loss against the New York Giants.
Lessons to keep the high scoring Franklin squad in check.
After districts, they will then be tested by other teams with well-coached, deep bench potential teams who want that state title every bit as much as they do.
There is still some exciting basketball in the future for this squad.
And though the reserves got some good playing time Friday in their blowout victory, they will likely be riding the pine more and more as they attempt to make it to Hershey. But they are good reserves who help prepare this team each week in practice and when called upon to perform, they have seemingly been up for the task.
Please see more photos at https://sayerrich.zenfolio.com/p901500705
And they did look that way.
They were stealing the ball, forcing the Grove into off-balanced shots and sinking the shots they needed... until the fourth quarter. That is when the Orioles stormed back. And most importantly, when it came time to sink free-throws they did. It was a testament to not giving up, to staying focused on their game and putting it on the line when it mattered most.
D'Andre Whitman got five of his 12 in the clutches of clutch free-throws to put the game out of reach for the Mustangs in the fourth.
It was the difference.
Rocky Grove didn't really beat Mercer by seven points - it was a dead-even game, except the free throws made all the difference in the end. The score finished at 51-44 ending the Mustang's season.
Brett Stevenson was game-high scorer with 14 points, mostly gotten from behind the three-point arc. Reece Henderson was also his usual solid self pouring in 12.
Franklin also advanced by trouncing Erie First Christian 94-18. Photos from that game will be posted tomorrow.
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For a complete list of all the District 10 basketball brackets go to http://piaadistrict10.org/tournaments.
We plan to cover as much of the local team playoff action as we can. In the meantime, check out hundreds of pictures from the basketball season at our photo website.
Below see more photos from sectionals on Friday. You can view more by visiting this website.
Rocky Grove is doggedly been finding ways to win games. During their last home game of the season Friday, the region third-place Orioles showed their ability to manage a game with patience and take advantage when opportunities present themselves.
In the first half against Lakeview, they were simply being beat. They stayed in sight of the Sailors, but couldn't seem to get that little something extra to catch them.
Then, in the second half, their full-court pressure started to work, Lakeview got sloppy and the Orioles took advantage at key moments en route to a 53-44 win.
The Sailors put a body guard on Isaac Clayton in such a way coach Ryan Umbenhaur was calling lawyers to get an emergency PFA order for his player. Other Orioles like D'Andre Whitman stepped up to fill the gap.
Clayton was shut down entirely in the first half and the Sailors led. But Clayton, on defense, proved he could take the ball into his own hands via steals and score to start the second half. Though it was still difficult for him to get touches, he ended up contributing solidly in the second half.
When it came down to it, coaching and team patience was the difference that turned the game around.
The Orioles have two more games, both away - Tuesday against Mercer before the final game Thursday against a very strong Kennedy Catholic team, who is undefeated at the top of the region.
The "other" Franklin area team is having a very fine season themselves and have been giving their fans plenty of reason to cheer.
LEFT: Alex Zinz held true to his word and corralled the team together for another post introduction selfie.
I'll teach him how to turn his phone sideways before next season so he can get everyone in a horizontal selfie. Haha. This team has been fun to photograph.
See more photos at https://sayerrich.zenfolio.com/p522484701
Route 8 Rivalry is a website dedicated the long history of the Oil City and Franklin football rivalry by former sports editor Penny Weichel. It is an amazing labor of love and valuable resource for history. It is our go-to here at 8and322.com.