Fast start propels Franklin to victory on Catonsville's senior night

After an extended pre-game ceremony for senior night at Catonsville High, it was the visiting Franklin Indians who came out with more energy at the start of Friday night’s basketball game.

The Indians (14-4) got three 3-pointers from three different players and built a 9-2 lead 90 seconds into the game.

The Comets (4-14) never got closer then six points the rest of way and the Indians cruised to a 69-40 victory.

AJ Sims, Ben Murphy and Reggie Truitt hit the first three treys.

“They are all capable of hitting it and it was nice to see all three get comfortable right away,” Franklin coach Dave Iampieri said.

Murphy led all scorers with 24 points and Truitt (11) and Quinten Conwill (10) also scored for the winners.

“Knowing what is at stake for us because we knew if we win our last two division games, we are county champs in Division II,” Iampieri said. “That’s a big deal because Franklin hasn’t been there anytime recently.”

If they beat Towson in the final division game (Feb. 19), they would play the Division I champion in the county title game. New Town currently leads Division I.

Murphy scored 15 points in the first half and the fact the Comets played a 2-3 zone the whole game wasn’t a concern.

He just heeded his coach’s simple advice.

“He just said go out there and play ball,” Murphy said.

That’s something the junior has been doing all season.

“He’s been the guy you can count on to get a double-double almost every game,” Iampieri said. “He’s leading our team in assists, he leads in points and he also leads in rebounds, so he is a triple threat for us.”

The closest the Comets got after their slow start was with 5:11 left in the first half, when senior co-captain Ben Hall (six points) made a free throw, cutting the lead to 20-14.

But, the Indians went on a 9-3 run to close the half as Murphy scored the first seven and Truitt added a pair of free throws.

Junior Jaelon Swanson came off the bench and scored eight points in the second half and the Indians went to a half-court trap to force several turnovers and the Comets never threatened.

“They called a time out and we went to our trap defense and we went from about an 11-point lead to a 19-point lead,”Iampieri said.

Catonsville was led in scoring by senior co-captain Ty Holmes (10) and junior Dashawn Dixon (9).

“We had some kids that played hard, but we just turned it over way too many times,” Catonsville coach Dennis Keihm said.

Keihm had kind words for his five seniors who were honored before the game.

“Ben an Ty are my two senior captains and regardless of the score, they lay it all out there,” Keihm said.

All five seniors started and Nate McMahon (four points) and Zion Stanley (two points) scored in the first quarter and Jack Eiswert scored in the fourth quarter.

“Nate McMahon, we ran him as hard as we could until he had four fouls and he picked up four fouls in the first half,” Keihm said.

Stanley was active on the glass.

“Zion Stanley is all energy and he wants to do well so badly that the energy sometimes just bubbles over,” Keihm said.

Scoring

Franklin 69

Ben Murphy 24, Reggie Truitt 11, AJ Sims 10, Quinten Conwill 9, Jaelen Swanston 8, Nick Hall 6, Max Holzman 1.

Catonsville 40

Ty Holmes 10, Dashawn Dixon 9, Mark Brady 7, Ben Hall 6, Nate McMahon 4, Jack Eiswert 2, Zion Stanley 2.

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