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One game was played at more the pace Franklin wanted and the other more like what Racine Horlick wanted.

In the end, the Sabers' boys basketball team pulled off a valuable sweep of the Rebels in a key pair of Southeast Conference boys basketball games last week.

The first contest was a 75-71 decision in Franklin on Jan. 31 in what was a make-up of a game that was snowed out in December, and the second was a 53-47 victory at Horlick on Feb. 3.

The two victories broke a losing streak for the Sabers and improved them to 6-4 in the Southeast and 11-6 overall.

"We needed to get our momentum back," said coach Tyler Podoll. "We're a good team. We just needed to show it."

Though the Southeast Conference title is likely out of reach for the Sabers, Podoll said there are opportunities for the Sabers to set themselves up for a good WIAA tournament run.

They took on Kenosha Indian Trail (4-7 in conference) on Feb. 7 and will host Racine Park (6-5) on Friday, Feb. 10.

"There are a lot of teams that we might see in (WIAA) sectional immediately ahead of us," Podoll said. "We can really help our seeding if we play well."

Podoll would have liked to have seen the Sabers play a little better in the Feb. 3 game. The score was tied at 21-21 at the half before the Sabers put on a surge and got themselves into the lead for good. They were in control down the stretch but could not put the Rebels away because of problems at the foul line. They were only 15-of-33 for the night from the stripe.

"We missed four front ends of the bonus, and that kept them in it," Podoll said.

Caleb Selensky hit two key 3s late in the game, and Franklin hit six of seven free throws in the final 40 seconds to hold on.

Max Alba led the way with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Jacob Vonderwell had 12 and Marcus Lee 9 points and seven assists.

The first game was one of runs, Podoll said, with the score tied at 35-35 at the half. Franklin had problems with turnovers this game (16 of them).

"In the second, we figured it out," Podoll said.

The Sabers helped themselves with 9-of-20 shooting from 3-point range.

"The way they play defense (a soft zone with some trapping elements), we were able to get into good position to score easily," Podoll said.

Overall, the Sabers shot 58 percent for that game.

Lee led the Sabers with 22 points, while Alba had 21, Vonderwell 11 and Selensky 9. Vonderwell and Ethan Wittenburg had six assists apiece and Alba eight rebounds.

"We really made them sweat," Podoll said, "because we were built perfectly to beat them. Our length really bothered them."

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