— Tournament schedule
— Brentwood wins third straight region title
BGA, FRA match up for 4th time
By HAROLD HUGGINS
Maybe the biggest problem Franklin Road Academy will have in the state championship game will be climbing down off Cloud Nine.
The Panthers will stage a fourth match-up against Battle Ground Academy Saturday, this one for the DII-AA boys state championship. Both took quite opposite routes for their semis wins at Lipscomb Allen Arena Thursday afternoon.
It was diminutive senior point guard Tori Smith responsible for putting FRA up in the clouds with his stunning last-second three-point shot which lifted the Panthers past Knoxville Webb 56-54.
With the clock winding down, Smith lifted his shot past the outstretched arm of a defender and ball swished cleanly through with one second left. Teammates and delirious students who rushed onto the court mobbed Smith after the buzzer sounded.
“When I released it, it felt good,” said Smith, who said it was the biggest shot he’s ever hit “by far,” he said, laughing. “They had Rob (Marberry) covered inside, and I knew I wanted to take the shot. I was confident it would go in.”
About fans who rushed onto the court up to him after the game, he said, “it was crazy.”
Smith is getting a lion’s share of playing time because sophomore starting point guard Kenny Cooper broke his leg two week ago, ending his season. Smith is making the most of his chances.
“Tori was our best option as they had Rob covered up inside,” said Coach John Pierce, who hopes to guide the school to its first boys state title in history. That will have to go through BGA which holds a 3-0 lead on FRA this season.
“We’ve had some great games with BGA, and I’m sure we’ll have another one (Saturday).”
“It (winning a state) would be unbelievable not just for team but for our fans and students,” Marberry, a Mr. Basketball finalist, said. “We know a lot of their (BGA) guys, and it’s become a good rivalry. For our team, some of us have been playing together since kindergarten, we’re very close.”
Marberry had 22 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and hit 8-of-9 free throws. Smith added nine, including his only three-pointer of the game for FRA (26-8). Spence Jones had four assists. Justin Jenkins led Webb with 23 for Webb which beat FRA in overtime in the region tournament.
BGA rambles: Senior guard Nathan Moran poured in 26 points, 18 the first half, to go with five assists guiding BGA to a 60-41 romp over Memphis ECS. Continue Reading