Thursday, January 4, 2018

Offensive Explosion Leads Franklin Past Catholic Memorial

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

Franklin, Mass. - It was the night that Franklin head coach CJ Neely had been waiting for.

Through its first five games of the season, the Division 1 state finalist Panthers had been struggling offensively, scoring more than 60 points just once.

On Thursday night that all changed as, led by Matt Elias’ 16 points and, 10 total three-pointers the, Panthers took down Catholic Memorial, 74-60, in front of an electric crowd at Franklin High School.

Joining Elias in double figures for the Panthers was senior Jack Rodgers, who also finished with 16 points, while Paul Mahon poured in 12.

“We have been watching the film and have not been making that extra pass,” said Neely. “We kept stopping the film from our last few games and it was like ‘there is Elias wide open for three again’. Tonight we finally passed him the ball.”

That Franklin ball movement was on full display throughout the contest as, up against the Knights' full court pressure back to a 2-3 zone, the Panthers totaled 18 assists on 27 made baskets.

Entering the third quarter, the score between the two powerhouse Division 1 programs was knotted at 31 but that quickly changed.

Elias splashed a trey before Jalen Samuels slammed one home off an inbounds pass to put the Panthers up four.

Paul Rudolph then got involved for the Panthers finishing a layup off the Knights pressure and burying a three pointer from the left wing off a feed from Mahon to put Franklin up 48-41.

Knights coach Denis Tobin called timeout hoping to quell the Franklin run, but the Catholic Memorial defense continued to have few answers.

Aidan Klowan scored five straight points in response to a three pointer from Knights big man Anthony Morales (10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks) to push the Panthers lead up to nine.

Mahon and Chris Edgehill then put an exclamation point on the frame as Mahon connected on a deep three pointer and Edgehill swished a half court buzzer beater to give Franklin a 59-46 lead after three.

“We made a lot more confident plays against the press,” said Neely. “In the first half we had open looks but we weren’t making that extra pass. We were playing three-on-five too much against their press and in that third quarter we became more willing to share the ball.”

In the final frame Elias kept Franklin out of the Knights’ striking distance as he answered a Kani Glover three with his fourth of the night.

Rodgers ended any hopes of a Catholic Memorial comeback hitting a transition triple to give the Panthers a 66-51 advantage midway through the fourth.

“We executed really well down the stretch,” said Rodgers. “We made some good cuts against their zone and moved the ball very well. We had not been shooting too well and we were able to light it up a bit tonight.”

The Panthers jumped out to a 15-11 lead after one, but Catholic Memorial heated up before the half.

Will McDonald and Kurtis Henderson knocked down triples around a Mahon bucket, and Jaron Flynn capped off a 17-5 run for Catholic Memorial with a triple of his own.

Behind Elias, however, the Panthers went into the locker room on a strong note.

The senior splashed consecutive treys and Samuels showed off his range from the top of the key to even the score at 31 at the intermission.

No comments :