Franklin's boys were just good enough in their Class 3A North Region opener at Towson High on Friday night to keep a safe — if not huge — lead intact for most of what turned out to be a 45-38 victory.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak and most likely earned the Indians (8-12) a shot at upending Patterson in the next round of the playoffs, provided the Clippers get by Hereford Saturday afternoon in Parkton.
The Indians were only tied once against the Generals (8-16), and that came early in the opening quarter at 4-4.
From that point forward, they stayed slightly ahead, leading, 15-10, at the end of the first period, 24-20, at halftime and, 37-32, after three quarters.
Franklin's defense was the key to the triumph, forcing numerous turnovers against a team that helped out with a slew of unforced errors.
In half-court sets, the Indians closed on Towson shooters, compelling the hosts to have an off-shooting night.
"They were in a 3-2 (zone) and they packed it in on (fellow senior center) Tim Wheeler and I," said Tim Jarosinski, the only General who scored in double digits (13 points) in the loss. "And despite getting open looks, we weren't knocking them down. That's just how it rolls sometimes."
Towson coach Tim Gavin also praised Franklin's zone.
"They're long and quick," Gavin said, describing Indian defenders Rodney Wynn, Reggie Ellis, Jacques Plater, Marquis Ellis, Cyril Nuwursoo, Eric Proper and Isaiah Lamb. "When we can't get the ball inside, we become a jump-shooting team, and that's just not out game."
The Indians managed to stretch the lead to as many as 10 points just once, and that came in the third quarter on two Lamb free throws, a Nuwursoo stick-back and three more free throws by Wynn.
Towson eventually sliced the advantage to 39-36 on two old-fashioned three-point plays by Jarosinski on a put-back and junior guard Amry Majeed's coast-to-coast dash. Jarosinski's baseline jumper and Majeed put-back completed the run.
However, Towson only managed one field goal — a jumper from the top of the key by junior guard James Frieson — in the final four minutes.
Franklin (45)-Jeremy Pentsil, 7; Marquis Ellis, 18; Jacque Plater, 4; Eric Proper, 3; Isaiah Lamb, 4; Reggie Ellis, 6; Cyril Nuwursoo, 3.
Towson (38)-James Frieson, 2; Elias Hilaire, 4; Amry Majeed, 7; Jordan Riddick, 2; Chance Goldring, 4; Tim Wheeler, 6; Tim Jarosinski, 13.
Considering Franklin posted a 60-10 win over Towson High in the regular season, Friday's Class 3A North Region opener didn't figure to be much of a contest — and it wasn't.
The Indians (17-6) built a 20-point lead at halftime over the young Generals and coasted to a 67-25 conquest with once-beaten and top-seeded Aberdeen their next opponent, a daunting task by anyone's standard.
When asked what her team worked on in making short work of Towson, Franklin coach Denikwa James admitted that it was what her team was trying not to show that mattered most.
If Aberdeen had scouts in the building, they didn't get to see what the Indians will be bringing against what is acclaimed to be the area's best team.
Regardless, what Franklin did display was way too much for the Generals, whose five wins this winter dwarf last season's single-win result.
"We were trying to make sure every girl got to participate," James said about her goals for the team. "But it's really tough to prepare for a team like Aberdeen."
That said, Towson coach Del Oliver received a high grade from the school's athletic director Jeff Whalen for the Generals' all-around improvement on a squad that boasts four freshmen and three sophomores on its roster.
It still wasn't nearly enough to halt a Franklin team that had already prepared for its upcoming encounter with Aberdeen on Monday.
Franklin sophomore point guard Jordan McDowell's three-pointer started a second-half onslaught during which the Generals' only point paled in comparison to the Indians' 17 markers.
Leading, 52-16, Franklin didn't let up, increasing the differential to 48 points before successive scores by sophomore Corrine Sanni, senior Stephanie Frantz and freshman Lauren Swensen made the score more respectable.
Franklin (67)-Ashley Reid, 14; Kim Dorsey, 15; Monique Welch, 4; Maria Izzard, 10; Arianne Foote, 9; Jordan McDowell, 10; Jackie White, 2; Blaire Ross, 1; Maggie Momtanye, 2.
Towson (25)-Lauren Swensen, 2; Denora Murray, 6; Zsa-Maine Brookshire, 1; Emily Heinlein, 2; Stephanie Frantz, 4; Madde Tribbe, 1; Corrina Sanni, 5; Hope Lockwood, 4.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun