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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Eagles hold off Bengals in Piedmont play, 80-71
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Franklin County senior DeAndre Kellam fires a jump shot from the wing. (Photo by Ray Reynolds)

Monday, December 23, 2013

By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor

BASSETT -- Franklin County was able to thwart a fourth-quarter Bassett rally Friday night at the finish.

But reaching the finish was a struggle for the Eagles in their 80-71 Piedmont District triumph over the Bengals.

FCHS (2-1 in the Piedmont, 6-2 overall) scored 15 of the game's last 21 points after Bassett had squared the count at 65 with 4:12 remaining.

The Eagles missed 12 attempts from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter with eight of those misses coming when the Bengals were trading fouls for potential points on their offensive end of the floor.

"It was a rough one. We did come out with the win, but Bassett played a heck of a game,' first-year Eagles bench boss Keyode Rogers said. "My hat's off to them. They came out and hit us in the mouth...they pushed us to the brink.

"It was a good win for us. It was good that we came out on top, but (Bassett) played a good game,' Rogers said.

"...Bassett played hard. They wanted this game,' Rogers said.

Senior De' Andre Kellam, who played two-plus seasons for the Bengals before transferring first to Morehead (N.C.), then to FCHS, returned to Bassett and scored a team-best 17 points.

But, Kellam struggled with his shot in the first half -- he was 2 of 9 from the field in the opening 16 minutes.

"We'd talked about it like I'd talk to any transfer about going back to where he came from,' Rogers said. "I don't know if it was a tough game coming back to Bassett, but it was something that we prepared him for and we prepared the team for anything that might happen.

"We talked about it (Kellam's return) in practice and that's where we left it,' Rogers said.

The Eagles held leads of six (62-56) and five (65-60) points before the Bengals forced the game's eighth stalemate at 65 when Rakwon Vaughn drove to the basket for a deuce and drew a blocking foul on FCHS's Adonis Edwards. Then, Vaughn completed the three-point play.

Following an FCHS time out, the Eagles responded with a 9-0 run that could have been extended to 13-0 with 100 percent accuracy at the free-throw line.

Brandon Kellam started the run with a basket, then his three-point play and a reverse lay-up by his older brother De'Andre pushed the spread to 72-65.

Then, Bradley Parcell's basket with 1:50 showing made it a nine-point difference.

Two drives by Vaughn and deuce by Devontae Wimbush brought Bassett to within five points, 76-71, with 34 seconds left, but the points scored by Wimbush would be his team's final ones.

"As a team, I don't think we showed up defensively. Bassett was able to create a lot of holes in our defense; they were able to attack it and get to the basket. That kept the score close,' Rogers said. "We had a lack of defensive intensity.'

FCHS's late misses at the line came when it was in the double bonus.

For the game, FCHS was 23 of 38 at the free-throw line.

The Eagles also had their share of troubles on the line in their 68-63 district setback to George Washington-Danville earlier in the week.

"(Free-throw shooting) has been a problem the past couple of games, but not necessarily all year,' Rogers said. "We've worked on it the last couple of days in practice and I've harped on it because we had a bad night (against Danville) and tonight, I think we had a bad night. We just happened to hit the ones we needed to hit at the end.

"When we were not hitting free throws, it was giving (Bassett) new life,' Rogers said.

Although the Bengals did tie the score at 65, they were never able to take the lead thereafter. In fact, Bassett's last lead came with about two minutes left in the third quarter, 53-51.

"The one thing we will do is fight. I don't think we're going to give up at all -- all the way down to the end,' Rogers said. "I am proud of that. We'll fight and fight and battle to the end.'

FCHS 18-14 after the first quarter and was ahead eight, 25-17, in the second stanza before a Bassett surge that produced leads of 30-29, 32-31 and 34-31.

The half ended with the score even at 36.

Bassett's use of a 2-3 zone in the first half perplexed the Eagles at times. But, FCHS did hit five of its seven 3-point field goals in the first half.

"I think our offense was stagnant even if (Bassett) was playing man. We didn't get in our sets. We didn't move the ball. We were dribbling the ball too much instead of swinging it. When we did get the ball inside, we'd fade away instead of taking it up strong,' Rogers said.

Twelve players saw action in the first half for FCHS and eight scored.

Brandon Kellam and Adams each netted 13 points and Edwards tallied 12 on four 3-point field goals.

Vaughn paced the Bengals with a game-best 19 points, while Wimbush scored 18, Travis Koger collected 15 and Tre'Quan Hairston scored 13.


FRANKLIN COUNTY -- 18/18/22/22 -- 80

BASSETT -- 14/22/19/16 -- 71

FRANKLIN COUNTY (80) -- Edwards 4 0-0 12, D. Kellam 5 4-4 17, B. Kellam 4 5-11 13, Clayborne 1 2-4, Alderman 0 0-0 0, Parcell 1 3-6 5, Hairston 1 0-0 2, Shockley 0 0-0 0, Tyler Bennett 2 0-2 4, Travis Bennett 2 2-2 6, Traver 1 2-2 4, Adams 4 5-7 13. Totals: 25 23-38.

BASSETT (71) -- Koger 4 7-10 15, T. Hairston 5 0-0 13, J. Hairston 0 1-2 1, Blout 0 0-0 0, Wimbush 7 3-5 18, Belcher 2 0-0 5, Vaughn 4 11-16 19, Simon 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 22-33 71.

Haliftime score: 36-36. Three-point goals: D.Kellam (FC) 3, Edwards (FC) 4, Belcher (B), Wimbush (B). T. Hairston (B) 3. Total fouls: Franklin County 24, Bassett 24. Fouled out: J. Hairston (B), Belcher (B). Technical foul: Adams (FC).

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