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By Mike Copper, Tom Reisenweber, Jeff Kirik Erie Times-News staff bloggers
The Varsity blog is the 2013 winner of an international EPPY award for best sports blog. EPPYs are awarded to media-affiliated websites by Editor & Publisher, an industry trade publication. Varsity is primarily maintained by Times-News sports writers Mike Copper and Tom Reisenweber and sports editor Jeff Kirik.   Read more about this blog.
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Fall Fastbreak – Franklin

Franklin Knights
Boys
Coach (season, record): Jason Fulmer (5th season, 55-38)
2011-12 overall record: 18-6
2011-12 region record (place): 11-5 (tied for second)
2011-12 playoff results: Defeated Harbor Creek 54-38 in a District 10 Class AAA play-in game before losing to General McLane 49-37 in the D-10 quarterfinals.

Note: A preview was not submitted by the head coach.

Schedule
December
7-8 Franklin tournament
14 Grove City* 7:30
15 at Bishop Canevin 2:30
18 at George Junior* 7:30
21 Oil City* 7:30
28-29 Franklin tournament
January
3 at Farrell* 7:30
5 Sharon* 7:30
8 Meadville* 7:30
11 Hickory* 7:30
16 at Cathedral Prep 7:30
18 Slippery Rock* 7:30
22 at Grove City* 7:30
25 George Junior* 7:30
29 at Oil City* 7:30
February
1 Farrell* 7:30
5 at Sharon* 7:30
7 at Meadville* 7:30
9 at Hickory* 2:30
15 at Slippery Rock* 7:30
*Region 5 games

Girls
Coach (season, record): Bill Hager (36th season, 646-271)
2011-12 overall record: 24-3
2011-12 region record (place): 11-1 (co-champions)
2011-12 playoff results: Defeated North East 61-34, Mercyhurst Prep 39-33 and Hickory 48-38 to win the District 10 Class AAA championship. Franklin then defeated South Fayette 52-39 in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before falling to Chartiers Valley 47-41 in the second round.
Top players lost: Natalie Hager, Beth Foust, Brooke Deal
Top returning players: Angelina Starr, Hayley Andres, Mara Benvenuti
Assistant coaches: Hunter Anderson, Greg Miller
Outlook: Franklin received a big surprise in the offseason when coach Bill Hager decided not to retire. He will be back for at least one more year to guide the defending District 10 Class AAA champions. The Knights had a terrific run last winter to beat Mercyhurst Prep in the D-10 semifinals and Hickory in the championship. Franklin graduated several standout players, including 1,000-point scorer Natalie Hager. She was voted the Region 5 Player of the Year and to the all-region first team and was named to the all-district team. The Knights also lost Brooke Deal and and Beth Foust to graduation. Both were voted to the all-region second team as seniors. Franklin returns everyone else, including standout Angelina Starr. The junior was voted to the all-region first team as a sophomore and could go over 1,000 points this winter. Seniors Hayley Andres and Mara Benvenuti are returning starters, while Tenaisha Law, Laken Shields, Abby Jones, Becca Gravatt and Julie Pfieffer could be impact players as well. Franklin has loaded its schedule up this year with talented non-region teams and could be in for a battle in the postseason. Currently, District 10 was given only two PIAA spots in Class AAA. With Villa Maria moving up this season, the Knights will have to deal with Villa and Mercyhurst Prep in pursuit of a state playoff berth. Hickory could also be in the mix while Conneaut is a wild card. Franklin has played well under Hager and could be a strong favorite to repeat as D-10 champions.

Schedule
December
7-8 Franklin tournament
12 at Seneca 7:30
13 Warren 7:30
18 at Titusville* 7:30
27-28 McDowell tournament
January
3 at Slippery Rock* 7:30
5 Bishop Canevin 2:30
7 Hickory* 7:30
10 at Oil City* 7:30
12 at Sharon 2:30
14 Grove City* 7:30
17 at Meadville* 7:30
19 MLK Showcase
24 Titusville* 7:30
28 Slippery Rock* 7:30
31 at Hickory* 7:30
February
2 Woodland Hills 2:30
4 Oil City* 7:30
8 at Grove City* 7:30
11 Meadville* 7:30
13 at North East 7:30
*Region 5 games

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Basketball, Fall Fastbreak

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