Turnovers and missed shots haunted the Franklin Admirals basketball team (28-4) as it lost a close game against the Clarksville Wildcats (15-4) on the road in the boys AAA substate round Monday night, 59-53.
“This is definitely not the outcome we had hoped for,” said Franklin head coach Jason Tigert. “You have to give Clarksville credit defensively. They came out with tremendous energy, played physical and took away a lot of what we were trying to do.”
In the first quarter, Franklin held a slight advantage, 15-13, in the frame as the trio of seniors Matt Thurman, Reed Kemp and Aidan Smylie hit jumpers and 3-pointers to give the Admirals the lead.
Both sides matched each other basket for basket in the second quarter as the Wildcats and Admirals went into halftime tied at 26.
In the third quarter, the Wildcats got into a rhythm from behind the arc and with midrange baskets by senior Jaheim McDonald, junior JJ Wheat and senior Wesley Booth to gain the advantage, 42-38.
Clarksville continued their momentum in the fourth quarter, capitalizing off Franklin turnovers with free throws, points in the paint and long-range shots by McDonald and Wheat to seal the victory, 59-53.
The Wildcats leading scorers were Wheat with 23 points, and McDonald with 13.
Franklin’s point leaders were Kemp with 26 and Thurman with 15.
“Those two have been top scorers for us, not only this year, but last year as well,” said Coach Tigert. “There is a reason why they have scored over 1,000 points for their careers. They are two very good offensive players.”
Clarksville will move on to the boys state basketball tournament next week to face Houston High School.
With this loss, Franklin will end their season and will work to get back to state competition next year.
“This is a special group of six seniors that have represented Franklin in a first class way,” said Coach Tigert. “They have won a ton of games and played an exciting brand of basketball that the Franklin community has enjoyed and embraced. They will leave a legacy that means a lot for us moving forward.”