Franklin Hgts. rallies late, edges BW, 49-48
By GARY HENERY
News Managing Editor
This one escaped the Golden Eagles’ grasp …
Franklin Heights, which trailed by 8 points at 45–37 two minutes into the fourth quarter, outscored Big Walnut 10–3 over the final six minutes to post a 49–48 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory over the host Golden Eagles in the regular-season finale for both teams Friday night in Sunbury.
The game went down to the final horn. The Golden Falcons caught Big Walnut (6–16, 2–12 OCC) at 47–47 on senior wing Aaron Page’s rebound basket off a missed free throw by senior post Tochukwu Olie to complete a 3-point play with 1:53 to play. The Golden Eagles took a 1-point, 48–47 lead as senior Zach Laughman made one of two free throws with 55 ticks left on the clock.
Following a Franklin Heights (8–14, 5–9 OCC) time out with :45.8 seconds remaining, the Falcons grabbed a 49–48 lead on senior wing Ricardo Harris’ rebound bucket with 27 seconds to play. The Golden Eagles, calling a time out to set up their final play, came up empty-handed as time ran out.
“This game went the way of our season,” BW head coach Eric Myers said. “We played inconsistent basketball throughout the season, playing well at times then going into spells where we would have trouble scoring.”
The Golden Eagles, hitting 7 of their first 11 shots, took a 19–12 lead behind senior post Adam Shaheen who scored 8 of his game-high 21 points in the period. Sophomore Michael Buckles chipped in a pair of buckets and senior Zach Laughman capped the quarter with a three-pointer at the buzzer,
Then there was the second quarter where Big Walnut could score only 3 points, all three by Shaheen, on 1-for-7 shooting while turning the ball over 6 times. By the half, the Falcons, despite 4-for-13 shooting, held a 25–22 as they outscored the Golden Eagles 11–0 over the final 5 minutes of the half.
“Franklin Heights went two a 2–3 triangle defense and our offense was unable to adjust to it,” Myers said. “We came out and made those adjustments to open the third quarter.”
Big Walnut opened the second half with a 13–5 run to take a 35–30 lead on Zachary Asher’s lay-in with 4:11 remaining in the third quarter. Juniors Logan Boyd and Shaheen buried treys to lignite the run. Laughman capped the quarter by canning a 3-pointer from just inside the 10-second line to send the Golden Eagles into the final 8 minutes with a 40–34 advantage.
Shaheen kept the Golden Eagle attack rolling by opening the final period with a reverse lay-in and a trey for the 45–37 advantage … before Big Walnut’s offense stumbled. The Golden Eagles would turn the ball over on six of its seven possessions, counting only a Boyd lay-in off a steal, to open the door for the Falcons’ last-second victory.
“We had a 3-point and an 8-point quarter,” Myers noted. “That’s been our story all season .. you can’t be that inconsistent on offense and expect to win.”
Page led a balanced Franklin Heights scoring column with 11 points. Olie followed with 9, Harris with 7, and sophomore Josh Williams and senior Dwight Mitchell with 6 points apiece.
Laughman joined Shaheen in double figures for Big Walnut with 11 points. Boys was next with 5 as only six Golden Eagles found their way into the scoring column.
The Golden Falcons shot 33.3 percent (17-for-51) for the game, including 5-for-17 (29.4 percent) from beyond the arc, while turning the ball over only 9 times.. The Golden Eagles made 47.2 percent (17-for-36) of their shots, including 6-for-15 (40.0 percent) in three-point tries while committing 18 turnovers. Heights converted 10 of 15 free throws (66.7 percent) compared to BW’s 8 of 12 (66.7 percent). The Golden Falcons, led by Page’s 11 rebounds, claimed a 35–29 edge on the boards. Shaheen and Laughman cleared off 6 apiece for the Golden Eagles.
Big Walnut opens Division II Central District play on Saturday, February 23 at 1 p.m. at ninth-seeded Licking Heights.
LICKING HEIGHTS 67, BIG WALNUT 49 — The Hornets jumped out to a 12–3 opening-quarter lead en route to a 10-double-digit 25–15 halftime advantage en route to the non-conference decision last Tuesday (February 12) at Pataskala.
Licking Heights (17–4) put the game away with a 24-point third period to open up a 20-point, 49–29 lead going into the final 8 minutes of the contest.
The Hornets were led by John Righter with a game-high 19 points. Babe Murphy followed with 14 points.
Big Walnut (6–15) was paced by Adam Shaheen with 16, Zachary Asher with 10 and Matt Tarney with 9 points. Shaheen and Tarney buried three 3-pointers apiece for the Golden Eagles.
The ninth-seeded Hornets will square off against the Golden Eagles at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the first round of the Division II Central District Boys Basketball Tournament at Pataskala.