Just two days after a very frustrating loss to nonconference opponent Menomonee Falls on Jan. 5, the Franklin boys basketball team got back up on its horse and earned a wild and fun, 87-79 Southeast Conference decision over Kenosha Indian Trail on Jan. 7.
'It felt good for it all to come together,' said coach Tyler Podoll, who had been very frustrated with the loss to Falls in that the Sabers had a seven-point lead late in the first half on the Indians but could not hold on.
'Looking at ITHS, they played two strong games versus two tough Southern Lake teams They shot the ball above 50 percent in both games from 3-point land and we knew we had to guard the 3, but more importantly we knew we had to take them out of their offense.'
The victory broke a six-game losing streak and improved the Sabers to 2-8 overall and to 2-2 in Southeast Conference play. They visited Racine Park on Jan. 12 and then will host Kenosha Tremper at 7 p.m. Jan. 15.
Podoll said a strong start was the key to the victory over Indian Trail.
'We began the game with strong pressure and contesting their 3-point shooters,' he said. 'We caused quite a number of turnovers leading to two quick timeouts by ITHS. Matt Teska had four of his five 3-pointers in the first half. We concentrated on long rebounding block outs as they shoot 28-33 3s per game and get quite a lot of offensive reloads. We held them to one offensive board in the first half.'
The result was an impressive 44-25 lead at the break for the Sabers.
The second half was a wildly entertaining affair as the two teams combined for 97 points
'The second half was a 20-point game until the last four minutes when they hit 7 of their 12 threes,' said Podoll. 'They weren't open looks either. However, we were able to score off the press with layups minimizing the damage done by the 3-ball. When they began to foul, Ryan Zakszewski hit seven of eight free throws, and Sam Ruetz hit three of four to seal the game.'
Franklin was spectacularly balanced this game as a total of 13 players scored as Teska led the way with 19 points, Max Alba 12, Zakszewski 11 and Ruetz 10. The Sabers were 23 of 32 from the foul line as compared to just one of four for the Hawks, who hit 12 3-pointers to Franklin's one.