The Franklin Men’s Basketball team (3-2) had a lot on their hands against Defiance (3-4) Saturday.
After a close game against Transylvania on Wednesday, this game was more of the same. The game had a whopping 15 lead changes. Neither team held a strong advantage until the end, when an intentional foul on Franklin sealed the 62-59 victory for Defiance.
Coach Brian Lebowitz said the Grizzlies’ style of play is what caused Franklin to fall short.
“The ball was pinging inside and out, and we had a little too much offensive you go, I go, you go, I go, and it just didn’t get us quite enough clean looks,” Lebowitz said.
After a stalemate in the first minute of play, Ty Wright managed to score the first bucket for Franklin. The teams remained tied at 2-2 for the first five minutes, then the score jumped back and forth. Franklin’s Lynn King put the lead back into Franklin’s favor with a three pointer.
It wasn’t long before Defiance was back in the fight. Avonte Jones scored a layup, giving Defiance the lead and allowing them to pull ahead. In the closing minutes of the first half, Ryan Wiggins made a layup that put Franklin back in the game, and another layup by Lynn King gave them a lead of 29-28 at the end of the first half.
The second half kicked off with two layups by Matt Krause, giving Franklin the early advantage. Jerome Johnson tied up the score for Defiance, but a three pointer by Ty Wright put Franklin back on top. Defiance tied them again shortly after.
A free throw by Franklin’s Mitch O’Mara and three-pointer by TJ Deere put Franklin up by three, but the Yellow Jackets continued to set up strong screens, nab points and steal the lead. Franklin was always quick to take it back, but the suspense kept the fans on the edge of their seats the entire game.
As the final minutes began, Defiance put up a three-point lead over Franklin. O’Mara made two free throw shots with 1:18 remaining, shortening that lead to one point. An intentional foul call on Franklin with 16 seconds left in the game gave Defiance two free shots and possession of the ball, so the game was theirs. A few attempts to come back by Franklin were made, but it was in vain. The visitors won 62-59.
Wright topped Franklin’s score charts with 15 points during the game. Their total field goal percentage was 40.7%, while Defiance’s was 44.3%.
Lebowitz said he didn’t get a good look at the intentional foul call.
“The refs were pretty adamant that he really shoved him in the back, which I trust the refs here. It’s a frustrating call, but I’m sure the refs are doing their jobs,” Lebowitz said.
The men's team will be on the road next week, playing Spalding Wednesday at 8 p.m.