Franklin hustle plays help beat O'Dea, 58-54 | Boys Basketball
The fourth-ranked Quakers stayed unbeaten, thanks to a strip by Arell Hennings that led to the go-ahead basket with 27.9 seconds left.
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It came down to effort and the plays coaches implore their players to make in close games.
Little plays for big results.
Arell Hennings, 5-foot-6 guard, made the biggest hustle play on defense.
Hennings stripped a driving Zack Lane in the lane and it led to Patrick Ball's go-ahead layin as fourth-ranked Franklin escaped with a 58-54 win over O'Dea in a Metro League boys basketball game Friday night.
The Quakers (7-0 overall, 6-0 league) went into a six-day winter break on a winning note, thanks to forcing 25 turnovers and some energy plays in the fourth quarter. Ball's driving basket broke a 54-54 tie with 27.9 seconds left.
"We stuck through having a pretty tough time scoring and our defense picked it up," said Hennings. "Those little plays are the game. It's all defense, that's what we are taught by coach (Jason) Kerr at practice every day. ... It was about not quitting."
Hennings sank a pair of free throws with 6.6 seconds left for the final margin after O'Dea (3-3, 3-3) missed two shots with a chance to tie. Jamie Orme missed a contested layin and center Jacob Lampkin had his putback roll off the rim with 9.8 seconds showing.
"I think our effort was good," said O'Dea coach Al Hairston, whose team rallied from 12 points down only to miss four fourth-quarter layins. "We turned the ball over too many times. And, we didn't shoot the ball well from the free-throw line."They made too many threes in the first half. We hung in there and fought back and gave ourselves a chance to win."
O'Dea scrapped to tie the game at 54 on Orme's fast-break layin with 1:47 showing. The Irish were down 39-27 after Franklin's Emanuel Siale's layin with 7:48 left in the third quarter.
Hennings, Tim McMillon and Ball each scored 15 for Franklin.
"I told the team after the game that they scrapped and battled, but they slipped to execute at times," Kerr said. "Their effort was there the entire time. We haven't had any competition at the level of (O'Dea).
"This time of year, everybody is trying to find out what they have to work on. We did well in the areas of gutsiness, effort and hustle."
McMillon came off the bench and scored all 15 of his points on three-pointers in a first-half span of 5:37. He had four of those treys in a 2:55 stretch, helping the Quakers to a 33-23 lead late in the half.
"He has the green light on the three-point basket," Hennings said of his fellow 5-6 backcourt mate. "Coach Kerr says if he shoots a two, he's coming out."