Nick Bobos was not looking forward to studying for his algebra and world geography semester exams that he has on Wednesday.
But the Franklin junior guard said he will have a smile on his face tomorrow as he takes his tests because his clutch three-pointer from the right baseline with 14 seconds to go put the Saber basketball team up for good, as host Franklin rallied for a 57-54 Southeast Conference win over Kenosha Bradford Tuesday night.
"Now I have to go home and study for three hours, awesome," he said somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as he walked off the court.
But then he put a smile on his face and talked about how resilient the Sabers, who are now 3-5 in league play and 7-9 overall, have become this season.
"This is nothing new for us," he said. "We've just been fighting hard the entire season. We've been down by a little, we've been down by a lot, but we've always fought back."
"We've faced so much adversity that we really believe that we're capable of winning close games."
So does Franklin coach Tim Hogan.
"This was the start of the second half (of the conference season," he said, "and we lost to these guys the first time around in a game just like this. This was an opportunity to see how much we've grown. How do we put ourselves in a good position to win."
"To do that, we have to play the entire 32 minutes."
And the Sabers had opportunities not to do that Tuesday night. They fell behind by 13 points in the first half, but a 10-2 run to close out the second quarter, highlighted by Evan Kruczynski's steal and lay-up to cut the deficit to 29-24 at the half, got Franklin back into the game.
They then fell behind big again, at 40-29 with 4:20 left in the third, and still they did not give up, closing the gap to 42-35 by the end of the session with help of a lay-up by center Chad Kanugh.
The Sabers finally rallied to tie the score at 44-all courtesy of a putback by Colin Ksobiech and and another steal and lay-up by Kruczynski with 5:14 left in the game. That effort capped a 15-2 run that extended back from the midway point of the third quarter.
But the Red Devils, who used their quickness all night to get into the lane at will, went on a quick 6-0 run to go up 50-44 with 4:05 left.
And still Franklin did not quit. The Sabers got a huge break at the 3:04 mark as Bradford guard Alexio Rosales fouled out, but it was still 52-45 with 2:51 left.
That's when the Sabers went on an 8-0 run. Point guard Ernie Zazueta finally gave Franklin the lead at 53-52 with 55 seconds left on a curling lay-up coming off the left sideline, but the Red Devils Khalia Anderson hit a floater in the lane with 29 seconds to go to put Bradford back ahead at 54-53.
Enter Bobos, for as the Sabers raced downcourt, he calmly set himself up on the right baseline, where Zazueta found him with a perfect rhythm pass to set up the go-ahead shot.
"Oh yeah it felt good," said Bobos. "I'd been waiting for a shot like that. Ernie saw me, made a great pass and I just knocked it down."
Though the Sabers were now ahead 56-54, the game was not over yet. The Red Devils Montenia Nelson was fouled in the lane with 5.6 seconds to go but he missed both free throws. Bradford missed all four free throws it took in the second half.
Kanugh was subsequently fouled on the rebound. He made one of two free throws to make it 57-54 with 3.4 seconds to go. Those were the last of a 15 for 22 effort from the line on the night for Franklin.
Bradford had to hurry up the court after Kanugh's free throw but a hurried shot from just inside halfcourt banked high off the backboard and away.
Nelson and Rosales led Bradford with 12 points each while Kanugh had 17 and Ksobiech 15 for the Sabers.
"Just like the first time, we fought and scratched," said Hogan, "and in the second half, we finally started knocking down a few shots. ...We talk about it all the time, how do you control things, how do you help yourself win?"
"Tonight we executed down the stretch and we hit a big shot when we needed it."
Which will make taking a few big tests on Wednesday a lot easier for the players.
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