Ragland’s clutch free throws lead Franklin to Senior Night win
FRANKLIN – Franklin-Simpson is finally back in the win column.
After not recording a single win since Dec. 29 at Edmonson County, the Wildcats were able to get over the hump and snap their 10-game losing streak on Friday night with a hard fought 46-39 win against Allen County-Scottsville.
“It feels awesome. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a win,” Franklin-Simpson coach Dee Spencer said. “It’s been tough. We’ve fought every night, we’ve given a few games away and the guys just kept fighting and we were able to get over the hump tonight.”
It didn’t come easy, as the two sides battled from start to finish, but a momentum swinging fourth quarter and clutch free throws in the final seconds by Franklin-Simpson senior Dee Ragland sealed the much-needed victory for the Wildcats (6-19 overall, 4-15 Region 4) on Senior Night.
“It’s really big for us because we’ve had a struggling season,” Ragland said. “Not being able to score in the post and playing defense has been rough. It’s like we’re giving away games – that’s what we’ve been doing. But we’re finally piecing together and we’re trying to make a late run.”
With the game tied 39-39 with 1:08 remaining, Ragland was fouled twice in a row and made all four free throws to give Franklin a seven-point lead, and it held on from there.
Ragland finished with 10 points – including a 6-of-8 showing from the free-throw line – in addition to three assists and three rebounds to go out with a bang in his second-to-last game at Wildcat Gym.
“When the season started, I was struggling from the free-throw line,” Ragland said. “It might have been like 50 percent. Then at practice, coach just kept drilling in our head to hit free throws, so I found a rhythm and started stepping back a little bit more, and it helped me on my free throws.”
Allen County-Scottsville led 14-8 after the opening quarter and 22-18 at halftime. Franklin-Simpson fought back to tie it at 29-all after three quarters, and then outscored the Patriots 17-10 in the fourth to come out on top.
Marcus Carter carried ACS (9-17, 5-14) with 13 points and six rebounds.
It was all Allen County-Scottsville early, as the Patriots jumped out to a 6-2 lead at the 4:07 mark of the first quarter. An 8-0 run a minute later stretched Allen County’s advantage to 14-5 and put it up 14-8 at the end of one.
The Patriots built an 18-10 advantage early into the second, but Franklin-Simpson answered with four straight points to cut its deficit to four at the 4:39 mark. The two sides exchanged baskets throughout the remainder of the quarter, and Allen County-Scottsville led 22-18 at the break.
“I got on ‘em pretty good (at halftime),” Spencer said. “I was just super proud of them and happy we could get a win.”
ACS shot 50 percent (10-of-20) from the field in the first half, while the Wildcats went 6-of-22. Charlie Calvert was leading the Patriots with eight points at intermission, and Ragland had five for Franklin.
Franklin-Simpson went to work in the second half, opening the third quarter with a 10-0 run to take a 26-22 lead midway through it. Allen County-Scottsville rallied back to even the scoreboard at 29-all entering the fourth.
In a nail-biting final quarter – one that included three different lead changes and three ties – the Wildcats pulled through in front of a packed house.
“It was big – real big – to have that kind of energy from the crowd,” said Ragland. “It was really big.”
Leading 39-35 with 2:53 remaining, Allen County responded with four straight to tie things at 39-all, and that’s when Ragland stepped up. Hustling to loose balls and attacking the rim with a positive mindset, Ragland drew contact, nailed his four free throws, and helped the Wildcats earn the victory.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday evening, as Franklin-Simpson hosts Warren East and Allen County-Scottsville welcomes in Warren Central. Both games are scheduled to tipoff at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ve just gotta finish games,” said Spencer. “If we can finish games, we’ll be good.”
Girls: Allen County-Scottsville 53, Franklin-Simpson 35
Allen County-Scottsville’s girls’ basketball team dominated from start to finish and won 53-35 at Franklin-Simpson on Friday evening.
Mason Towery led the Lady Patriots (17-11 overall, 11-5 Region 4) with a game-high 19 points and scored her 1,000th career point on a layup at the 4:16 mark of the second quarter. She’s now the 14th player in the 44-year history of the program to score 1,000 career points.
Along with Towery’s big outing, Sarah Sutton finished with 16 points for ACS, which won for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings against Franklin-Simpson. It also marked the Lady Patriots’ fifth win overall.
Allen County-Scottsville led 17-2 after the opening quarter and 26-9 at halftime. It took advantage of its comfortable lead throughout the remainder of the contest en route to the victory.
Evyn McCutchen carried the Lady Wildcats (5-23, 3-15) with 12 points.
Allen County-Scottsville returns to action on Monday against Clinton County at 5:30 p.m., while Franklin-Simpson hosts Warren East on Tuesday, with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.