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By MICHELLE GARMON
SHARPSVILLE — Unable to close out a win at Delphi on Friday night, Tri-Central’s Trojans came back and finished strong on Saturday night to record a 54-50 victory over Frankton’s visiting Eagles.
Saturday’s win was just Tri-Central’s third in the Trojans’ last nine games and upped their record to 8-7 on the season. Frankton, meanwhile, lost for the second time in six games and dropped to 7-8 on the season.
“Our kids responded unbelievably across the board,” Tri-Central coach Bill Bowen said. “We talked about winning the rebounds, but I used the term we need to dominate the boards, and I think we pretty well did.”
Jake Chapman scored five points as TC led 5-4 early. But the Eagles came back and took a 9-5 lead on Harrison Schwinn’s 3-pointer. Landon Grant knocked down a baseline jumper, Caden Leininger netted two free throws and Colby Wyrick scored to put TC up 11-9. Colin Gardner’s basket evened the score at 11-all as the first quarter ended.
Schwinn’s second 3 of the game gave Frankton a 17-14 lead at the 3:52 mark of the second quarter. But Leininger’s two free throws and baskets by Chapman and Jace Cassity comprised a 6-0 TC run to give the Trojans a 20-17 lead. Jacob Davenport scored to cut the lead to 20-19. Cassity answered at the other end but Davenport scored the final bucket of the first half that ended with TC up 22-21.
Chapman opened the third quarter with a steal and layup. Frankton, however, responded with a barrage of 3-pointers. Tyler Bates drained three straight treys for the Eagles and Blake Mills hit the fourth to cap a 12-2 run to give the Eagles a 33-26 lead with 4:33 remaining in the third quarter.
The Trojans countered with a 9-2 run. Leininger hit a 3 to start the run and back-to-back baskets by Cassity ended the run and evened the score at 35. Schwinn scored to break the tie but missed the free throw. Chapman answered with a three-point play and Grant’s two free throws gave TC a 40-37 lead. But Mills’ drained his second 3 of the quarter and the teams headed to the fourth deadlocked at 40-all.
Cassity scored the first basket of the fourth quarter. But Frankton countered with a 5-2 run. Schwinn scored three points and Davenport’s offensive rebound basket put Frankton up 45-44 with 6:51 remaining. That was the Eagles’ last lead of the game.
Chapman drained a 3-pointer and Grant hit a baseline jumper to put the Trojans up 49-45. Gardner scored to cut the lead to 49-47 and Mills had a chance to tie the score but missed two free throws with 3:13 remaining in the game. Martin scored three points to extend TC’s lead to 52-47 with 1:10 left to play. Schwinn’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 52-50 with :56 remaining. Frankton did not score again, while Cassity had a layup with :49 left to close out the scoring.
Chapman finished with game-highs of 19 points and 15 rebounds. Cassity added 13 points and six rebounds. Martin added seven points and eight boards, while Leininger also scored seven points. Grant added six points and Wyrick two for the Trojans, who shot 20 of 45 from the field and 12 for 18 from the line. TC was just 2 of 11 from 3-point range and had 19 turnovers but won the battle of the boards 35-28.
Schwinn led Frankton with 16 points and pulled down seven rebounds and had four steals. Davenport also scored in double figures with 12 points and had five rebounds and six assists. Bates added nine points, Gardner seven points and nine rebounds, and Mills six points. Frankton shot just 20 of 58 from the field and 2 of 6 from the line. The Eagles were 8 of 24 from 3-point range and had 13 turnovers.
Frankton plays at Muncie Burris in a varsity only game at 7:30 p.m. today and then is scheduled to travel to Hamilton Heights on Thursday – weather permitting – and host Monroe Central on Saturday afternoon.
Tri-Central, meanwhile, is scheduled to host Elwood on Thursday – weather permitting – and Carroll on Saturday afternoon.