Franklin had no answer for Milwaukee Vincent’s prolific offensive attack, falling to the Vikings, 82-42, in a Division 1 sectional semifinal game at Racine Case on March 9.
“We just went on one of the best runs in the state of Wisconsin,” Franklin coach Tyler Podoll said. “We were one of the final 16 teams in Division 1. This is just the beginning. We’re regional champs. We tied the school record in wins. We finished second in conference.
“We have not lost this way all year. Here, we are looking at a score that doesn’t represent our season at all. It’s a learning experience.”
Milwaukee Vincent outscored the Sabers, 44-18, in the second half, knocking Franklin (18-7) out of the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Last season, Franklin lost to the Vikings, 69-63, in the regional semifinal.
“We played exceptional from the get-go,” Vincent coach Ravonte Dantzler said. “I liked the way we came out defensively. That’s what we pride ourselves on defensively. That’s where we set the tone. I think (our) defensive was the difference in the game.”
Franklin jumped out to an early 5-2 lead on a Max Alba 3-pointer and two made free throws by Jacob Vonderwell at the 14:42 mark in the first half. With the game tied 8-all 2 minutes later, Vincent started pulling away from the Sabers.
After Alba knocked down a jump shot to bring Franklin within 2 points with 6:37 left in the first half, the Vikings went on a 15-3 scoring run, taking a 38-14 lead into halftime.
The Sabers offensive woes continued into the second half, as Vincent opened the half on a 14-0 scoring run to stretch its lead to 53-24 with 15:30 left.
“We tell our kids that the first 5 minutes of the second half is the most important,” Dantzler said. “We just tried doing what we did in the first half. Kept the pressure on and was able to get steals and get on the break, which is what we like to do. That’s when we’re at our best.”
Franklin didn’t tally its first basket until Alba nailed a 3-point shot to cut Vincent’s lead to 26 points with 14:04 left.
In the first 4 minutes of the second half, the Sabers struggled executing offensively, missing five shots and committing four turnovers.
“I think they were slightly deflated exciting the locker room,” said Podoll about his team’s start to the second half. “I don’t think I managed the second half really well. I could’ve called more timeouts. I could’ve slowed the game down.
“They are a good team. (Ravonte) Dantzler did a great job preparing them. It’s the worst loss we’ve had all season. It’s the worst loss I’ve had here at Franklin. I need to do a better job preparing. I’m going to learn from this.”
With the win, No. 2-seeded Milwaukee Vincent (20-4) faces No. 1-seeded Brookfield Central (23-2) at West Allis Central in the Division 1 sectional final March 11.
“Brookfield Central is very well coached,” Dantzler said. “We play them in the fall league. They have had a great season. (They run) some of the same things as we saw against Franklin. We will be ready.”
Andrew Lewis scored a game-high 24 points, and Justin Brookens added 21 points for Vincent.
Alba was the only Franklin player to score in double figures, tallying 17 points and six rebounds.
With Franklin’s season over, Podoll hopes his younger players use the loss against Vincent as a learning experience. The Sabers lose six players to graduation this year, but return Alba, who led the team in scoring (18.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg).
“We will be right when the time comes next year,” Podoll said. “We will be ready to go next year.”