Franklin boys basketball team overpowers Oak Creek in rivalry game
Ball-handling, post-play are keys in Sabers' victory
Franklin - Because of a strong start and a fast finish against border rival Oak Creek on Dec. 11, the Franklin boys basketball team remains in what promises to be a very tight Southeast Conference race with a 52-42 victory.
"Getting the first conference win like this will really help with our confidence," said Sabers' coach Tim Hogan. "What a change a week makes. The way things were shaping up, if we took that loss, we would be on the wrong side of every tiebreaker. Now, if we take care of some business ahead of us, we will have the tiebreakers on our side."
The Sabers (1-2 in Southeast play and 2-4 overall) took on Kenosha Indian Trail in another league contest on Tuesday and will close out the pre-holiday portion of their schedule against West Allis Hale at home on Friday (7:15 p.m.).
"If we take care of the ball and play team basketball, good things will happen for us," Hogan said.
Meanwhile, Oak Creek coach Mike Jossie will look to keep going forward with his still young team (1-2 in league play and 3-4 overall). Oak Creek took on Kenosha Bradford in another Southeast game on Tuesday and will close out their pre-holiday portion of the schedule Saturday at Watertown.
"(We) will continue to improve, we will become a better team sharing the basketball, and we will compete at a higher level as the season progresses," he said. "There have been many early-season obstacles for this team, which is young in experience at the varsity level.
"For this team of mine, to go into Franklin with the situation they were faced with, yet compete and battle to the end, was special. We will continue to battle together and improve and get things going for four quarters."
Slow start for Knights
Unlike what happened against the Sabers, who jumped out to a 17-7 first-quarter lead over the Knights.
"We really got on them quickly," Hogan said. "We mixed our defenses, we forced turnovers and we executed pretty well (offensively)."
Nick Bobos hit two big threes for the Sabers in that time.
"The first quarter was very disastrous for us," said Jossie. "For a team of mine to allow 17 points to start the game when we usually only give up 40 or so is hard to overcome and it's hard to take as well. Bobos hit those three-pointers in the first and (Franklin post player Chad) Kanugh was just a monster inside.
"We worked and educated all week for what we were facing, but we didn't come out and execute like we should have and we got smacked around (a little)."
The Knights did push back in the second quarter and closed the gap to 25-23.
"There was like a four-minute stretch where they became the aggressor and just seemed to get to every loose ball," Hogan said.
The game stayed even in the third as the Sabers clung to a 35-33 advantage heading into the final stanza.
Sabers buckle down
But then the Sabers' overall size advantage and execution started to pay dividends as they outscored the Knights 17-9 to close out the game.
"It was a very gradual thing," Hogan said. "We just seemed to come together down the stretch. We forced turnovers and executed well offensively. Overall, this may have been our most complete game."
"The fourth quarter came down to making plays and getting stops," Jossie added. "And defensively we had no answer for their post play and once their post play gets going, their outside game really becomes potent."
Kanugh led all scorers with 17 points and six rebounds, while Evan Kruczynski had 11 and five rebounds, and Colin Ksobiech and Bobos had nine apiece. Terrence Garner had 11 for Oak Creek while Cory Jackson had 10 and Alex Medenwaldt eight.
"I thought the second quarter was a great testament to the heart of the team," Jossie said. "They could have folded, but they rallied and put a nice run together to cut the deficit to two at halftime."
Hogan, meanwhile, was happy to see his team come out on top.
He was especially pleased with the Sabers' ball-handling, as they had only five turnovers and had 15 assists on 19 baskets.
"This was a nice win," Hogan said. "We were playing our rival and we really didn't want to fall to 0-2 in the conference. We had a real good student section tonight and we hope to take advantage of that in the near future, because three of our next four games are at home."
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