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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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Posts tagged "Franklin basketball"
Posted: November 20th, 2013

Franklin Knights
Coach: Casey McCloskey (1st season)
2012-13 overall record: 12-10
2012-13 region record: 10-6 (tied for fourth)
2012-13 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class AAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Noah Jones, Logan Mooney, Tyrell Burley
Top returning players: Kyle Ritchey, Isaiah Rutherford, Clayton Maxon, Isaac Drain
Assistant coaches: C.P. Mooney, Pat Adams
Outlook: Franklin will be under direction this season as Casey McCloskey, a former Cathedral Prep star basketball player, has been hired as the new coach of the Knights. McCloskey inherits a solid team of returning players, but he will have to find some replacements in camp for Noah Jones, Logan Mooney and Tyrell Burley. The two were standout players last year, including Jones being selected to the all-region first team. Jones averaged 14.7 points per game, while Mooney was at 3.6 ppg and Burley scored 8.3 ppg. The Knights have a strong group back in Kyle Ritchey, Isaiah Rutherford, Clayton Maxon and Isaac Drain. Ritchey, Maxon and Rutherford are returning senior starters, while Drain is a junior that’ll compete for a starting spot. Maxon averaged 8.8 ppg, while Rutherford scored 6.1 points per game. Franklin could also receive contributions from seniors Nate Cardy, Dexter Smith and Ryan Madden along with juniors Zach Guth and Ty Mooney and sophomore Kyle Russel. The Knights are athletic and have some experience to draw on this winter. Competing in Region 5 is never easy and each night could present new challenges for the Knights. Franklin will need to get some help from the lower levels and buy into a new system right away. The Knights don’t have a lot of time to adapt with a large region schedule. Franklin seems to be a playoff contender each year and experience could put the Knights back in the postseason in late February.

6 Franklin tournament
7 Franklin tournament
13 at Grove City* 7:30
17 George Junior* 7:30
20 at Oil City* 7:30
27 Franklin tournament
28 Franklin tournament
2 Farrell* 7:30
4 at Sharon* 7:30
7 Meadville* 7:30
10 at Hickory* 7:30
11 Bishop Canevin 2:30
17 at Slippery Rock* 7:30
21 Grove City* 7:30
24 at George Junior* 7:30
28 Oil City* 7:30
31 at Farrell* 7:30
4 Sharon* 7:30
6 at Meadville* 7:30
8 Hickory* 7:30
11 Cathedral Prep 7:30
14 Slippery Rock* 7:30
*Region 5 games

Coach: Ryan Justice (1st season)
2012-13 overall record: 26-2
2012-13 region record: 12-0 (champion)
2012-13 playoff results: Defeated Conneaut 68-33, Mercyhurst Prep 60-45 and Villa Maria 48-47 to win the District 10 Class AAA championship. Franklin then defeated Ligonier Valley 66-46 in the PIAA first round and Elizabeth Forward 65-45 in the second round. Franklin lost to South Park 61-43 in the PIAA quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Laken Shields, Hayley Andres, Mara Benvenuti, Tenasia Law
Top returning players: Angelina Starr, Becca Gravatt, Abby Jones, Julie Pfeiffer, Julia Gabrys, Cynthia Hoover
Assistant coaches: Kristin Rynd, Larry Grill
Outlook: Like the boys, the Franklin girls have a new coach after the retirement of legendary coach Bill Hager. Ryan Justice takes over after spending a few years as an assistant at North Clarion and a graduate assistant coach at Clarion. Justice has some experience back to utilize, but the Knights have some big holes to fill after graduation. Franklin lost Laken Shields, Hayley Andres, Mara Benvenuti and Tenasia Law. Andres averaged 10.5 points per game last winter to be voted to the all-region first team, while Law and Benvenuti were voted to the second team. Law averaged 10 points per game, and Benvenuti scored 9.2 ppg. Shields added 5.6 points per game as a senior. With plenty of production gone to graduation, the Knights could lean on what experience they have back. Angelina Starr, Becca Gravatt, Abby Jones, Julie Pfeiffer, Julia Gabrys and Cynthia Hoover all return this season. Starr scored 16 points per game last season to be named all-district and was voted to the all-region first team and the Region 5 player of the year. She has the ability to step forward as a leader along with fellow seniors Pfeiffer, Hoover and Gabrys. Gravatt and Jones are up and coming juniors for the Knights. Gravatt scored 6.6 points per game as a sophomore, while Jones has plenty of potential in the paint. Starr, Gravatt and Jones look like starters this season with the other two spots up for grabs in camp. The Knights have some work to do with developing in a new system and finding players to replace the production gone to graduation. Franklin has the talent to win the region and make the playoffs, but their success will come down to how quickly they adapt to a new coach.

6 Franklin High School
7 Franklin High School
11 Sharon 7:30
14 Oakland Catholic 2:30
20 Titusville* 7:30
21 Corry 2:30
26 Conneaut tournament
28 Conneaut tournament
3 Slippery Rock* 7:30
4 at Bishop Canevin 2:30
6 at Hickory* 7:30
10 Oil City* 7:30
13 at Grove City* 7:30
16 Meadville* 7:30
18 Cardinal O’Hara (N.Y.) 1
23 at Titusville* 7:30
27 at Slippery Rock* 7:30
30 Hickory* 7:30
1 Seneca Valley 7:30
3 at Oil City* 7:30
6 Grove City* 7:30
10 at Meadville* 7:30
*Region 5 games

Later today: General McLane

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted: February 26th, 2013

The Franklin and Mercyhurst Prep girls basketball programs have developed into powers on the district and state levels recently. The two teams have met seven times since the 2008-09 season and will play in the District 10 Class AAA semifinals on Wednesday. Here’s a look at their recent history.

Franklin-Mercyhurst Prep rivalry

Date Game status Final score
Jan. 2, 2009 Non-region Franklin 55, Mercyhurst Prep 47
Feb. 25, 2009 District 10 semifinals Mercyhurst Prep 60, Franklin 33
March 7, 2009 PIAA second round Mercyhurst Prep 51, Franklin 39
Dec. 23, 2009 Non-region Franklin 45, Mercyhurst Prep 42
March 6, 2010 District 10 third-place game Mercyhurst Prep 50, Franklin 42
March 5, 2011 District 10 championship Mercyhurst Prep 51, Franklin 40
Feb. 29, 2012 District 10 semifinals Franklin 39, Mercyhurst Prep 33

–Tom Reisenweber

Posted in: Basketball
Posted: November 4th, 2012

Franklin Knights
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.

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
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
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

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.

7-8 Franklin tournament
12 at Seneca 7:30
13 Warren 7:30
18 at Titusville* 7:30
27-28 McDowell tournament
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
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: March 17th, 2012

Natalie Hager

Franklin’s Natalie Hager capped her career on Wednesday in a loss to Chartiers Valley, but the 5-foot 10-inch forward had plenty of success during that career.

The Knights won the District 10 Class AAA championship by upsetting Mercyhurst Prep in the semifinals 39-33 before beating Hickory 48-38 in the championship game.

Hager played a big role in both games and averaged around 15 points per game this season. She finished as 1,000-point scorer and is still deciding on her collegiate choice.

Poll results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 11th, 2012

Haley Andres

Franklin’s girls basketball team was one of the favorites in District 10 to enter the season, and Haley Andres is a big reason why the No. 2 Knights made their way through a tough schedule and won the D-10 Class AAA title.

Andres, a 5-foot 7-inch junior guard, scored 19 points in a 48-38 win over Hickory to secure the D-10 championship only days after the Knights handed  Mercyhurst Prep its first loss of the season in the semifinals.

She averaged 9.4 points per game during the regular season and figures to be a key player for the Knights during the rest of the postseason.

Franklin opened the PIAA playoffs Saturday with a 52-39 victory over South Fayette.

Poll results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: November 7th, 2011

Franklin Knights
Coach (season, record): Jason Fulmer (2nd season at Franklin, 4th season overall, 22-5 at Franklin, 37-32 overall)
2010-11 overall record: 22-5
2010-11 region record (place): 13-6 (second)
2010-11 playoff results: Defeated Central Tech 49-45, East 65-48 and General McLane 59-56 to win the District 10 Class AAA championship. Franklin then defeated Uniontown 56-50 in the PIAA first round and lost 67-53 to Perry in the second round.
Top players lost: Cody Trinch, Isaiah Jordan, Shakeal Brown, Nic Jones
Top returning players: Dillon King, Trent Smith, Jordan Lepley, Noah Jones, Logan Mooney
Assistant coaches: Steve Shingledecker, Rich Beach, Randy Holmes
Outlook: Franklin put together an amazing run in last year’s District 10 Class AAA playoffs to win the championship. The Knights are hoping to repeat this winter but it won’t be easy after the graduation of Cody Trinch, Isaiah Jordan, Shakeal Brown and Nic Jones. Coach Jason Fulmer had his players buying into his system at the right time last year and will need a similar effort this winter to survive a tough region. First-team all-region selection Dillon King is back. The 6-foot 5-inch senior averaged 15.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last year, while his classmates Trent Smith and Jordan Lepley could be big-time contributors as well. Noah Jones, a 6-foot 8-inch forward, averaged a double-double as a sophomore with 10 points and 10 rebounds per game. He can be a force inside at times and is a big matchup problem. Logan Mooney is also a returning letterman and has plenty of experience to bring to the Knights. Franklin will be an interesting team to watch this year but they might need to develop strong guard play to repeat as D-10 champions.

9-10 Franklin tournament
16 Farrell* 7:30
20 at Slippery Rock* 7:30
27-28 Franklin tournament
3 George Junior 7:30
6 at Titusville* 7:30
10 at Hickory* 7:30
13 Grove City* 7:30
17 at Oil City* 7:30
19 Meadville* 7:30
21 at Sharon* 7:30
24 at Farrell* 7:30
27 Slippery Rock* 7:30
31 McDowell 7:30
2 Titusville* 7:30
4 Hickory* 7:30
7 at Grove City* 7:30
10 Oil City* 7:30
14 at Meadville* 7:30
17 Sharon* 7:30

Coach (season, record): Bill Hager (2nd season as girls coach, 16th season at Franklin, 35th season overall, 25-3 as girls coach, 314-101 overall at Franklin, 622-262 overall as a head coach)
2010-11 overall record: 25-3
2010-11 region record (place): 12-0 (champion)
2010-11 playoff results: Defeated Warren 64-30 and North East 63-40 before losing 51-40 to Mercyhurst Prep in the District 10 Class AAA championship. Franklin then defeated Ambridge 48-43 and Hollidaysburg 53-48 (OT) in the PIAA playoffs before losing 41-43 to Villa Joseph Marie in the quarterfinals.
Top players lost: Autumn Witt, Kaitlynn Ritchie
Top returning players: Natalie Hager, Beth Foust, Brooke Deal, Mara Benvenuti, Haley Andres, Tanasia Law, Lakin Shields, Kayla Kemick, Lena Starr
Assistant coaches: Barry Foust, Greg Miller, Hunter Anderson
Outlook: Franklin was one of the top teams in the western part of the state last year but ran into a PIAA contender in Mercyhurst Prep. The Knights almost earned another shot at the Lakers but fell one round before to Villa Joseph Marie. Franklin has most of its key players back but lost Autumn Witt and Kaitlyn Ritchie to graduation. The Knights’ core of Natalie Hager, Beth Foust, Brooke Deal, Mara Benvenuti, Haley Andres, Tanasia Law, Lakin Shields, Kayla Kemick and Lena Starr could give legendary coach Bill Hager some headaches on who to start and how much each girl should play. All nine bring experience and talent to the table for the Knights. Natalie Hager is an inside presence and is closing in on 1,000 career points for Franklin. The Knights should be back in the D-10 Class AAA championship again this winter and if they can develop a rhythm in the postseason, they might break through with a D-10 title.

9-10 Franklin tournament
15 Meadville* 7:30
19 at Titusville* 7:30
27-28 McDowell tournament
4 Hickory* 7:30
7 at State College 1
9 at Grove City* 7:30
12 at Oil City* 7:30
14 Aquinas Institute (N.Y.) 1:30
18 North East 7:30
20 Slippery Rock* 7:30
23 at Meadville* 7:30
26 Titusville* 7:30
28 at Marion Center noon
1 Sharon 7:30
3 Seneca 7:30
6 at Hickory* 7:30
9 Grove City* 7:30
13 Oil City* 7:30
16 at Slippery Rock* 7:30

– Tom Reisenweber

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