Playing one of their best overall games in years, the Russellville Panthers overpowered visiting Franklin-Simpson in a battle of perennial district
powers at Jim Young Gymnasium Friday.
Led by an eye-popping performance by veteran guard Damien Elam, the Panthers were ahead by 22 points three times in the third quarter, withstood a
Mickey Lewis-led comeback, and won 73-55.
It was part of a special night at RHS with Buddy Linton, Bubba Wells and Johnny Guion being inducted to the school's Athletic Hall of Fame and
Chelsea Hall being named Homecoming Queen while being escorted by her twin brother and fellow swim team star Corey Hall.
Elam got off to a strong start, hitting a 3-pointer, canning an 18-footer and scoring on an assist from Justin Bollenbecker as part of an early 11-6
lead. He took the ball to the basket repeatedly and finished with 21 points by shooting 7 of 10 from the field, 3 of 5 from 3-point range and 4 of 4
from the line. He also had 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals while turning the ball over only once.
F-S cut the lead to 11-10, but the Panthers went ahead 17-10 on a pair of free throws by Kevin Temple, a goal by D.J. Quarles on an acrobatic steal and
assist by Temple, and Quarles' steal resulting in a basket. Victor Hampton hit a 3-pointer as the quarter neared a conclusion, before Trevor Clark
stole the ensuing inbounds pass and stuck it in the goal at the buzzer to make the scoreboard read 22-13 at the first stop.
Th lead reached 33-21 on a drive by Elam and a goal by Davis Pardue resulting from a Temple steal. When Elam swished a 3-pointer after a stall at the
halftime buzzer, the Panthers went into the intermission leading 36-23.
The five-man team concept came into evidence when Quarles scored on an assist from Elam after Davonta Bryant made a steal, set up by a trap of a
Wildcat on the sidelines by Clark and Bollenbecker. That made the margin 18 at 44-26.
Things were going smoothly for the home team when Temple put together a 3-point drive to make it 48-27. Then the tide turned for a while when Wildcat
star Mickey Lewis, who had been quiet most of the game, hit a 15-foot jumper with 3:00 left in the third. He was definitely a factor from then on,
finishing with game-highs of 22 points and 12 rebounds.
The Panthers had two more 22-point leads on Hampton's rebound of his own shot deep against the baseline and Bollenbecker's pair of free throws.
Hampton's 12-footer on his own rebound with seven seconds showing put the Panthers up 55-36 entering the fourth quarter.
Franklin came within 11 at 61-50 with 2:03 remaining, but Temple scored on a runout, Bryant cashed in an assist from Clark, and Quarles hit four free
throws and Elam two to clinch the win.
Supporting Elam were Temple with 14 points, Quarles 12 and Hampton 10. Hampton had 8 rebounds, Bryant 7 and Clark and Quarles 5 each. Bollenbecker
missed all three of his field goal attempts but had three assists.
Both teams shot 44.4 percent from the field and each attempted 14 shots from long range, but Russellville hit 5 and F-S 3. The Panthers were 20 of 29
at the line and the Wildcats just 12 of 24.
The Panthers improved to 11-4 overall and 3-0 in the district. Franklin-Simpson is 10-6 overall and 1-1 in the district.
Russellville now enters Class A Classic play. The Panthers are the host team for the semifinals and finals of the Fourth Region. They will play the
winner of Monday's Cumberland County at Glasgow game on Thursday at 7:45 p.m.
Score by Quarters:
1) RHS 22-13, 2) 36-23, 3) 55-36, Final)
Russellville 73, Franklin-Simpson 55
Mickey Lewis 22, Jerrell Wickware 11, Doaks 8, Randolph 7, Curtis 4, Lockhart 3, Patterson, Fox, Krantz
Damien Elam 21, Kevin Temple 14, D.J. Quarles 12, Victor Hampton 10, Trevor Clark 6, Davonta Bryant 6, Davis Pardue 2, Justin Bollenbecker 2
F-S 70, Lady Panthers 39
After trailing just 11-10 after a quarter and 26-21 at the half, the Lady Panthers were still within striking distance of two-time defending 4th Region
champion Franklin-Simpson when Nakia Daniel's 3-pointer after a steal cut Franklin's lead to 33-24 with 5:35 left in the third. The Lady Cats then went
on a 12-1 surge to make it 45-28 at the end of the period.
The fourth quarter was all Franklin and mostly all Chastity Gooch, one of the state's top-ranked underclasswomen. F-S took the final stanza 27-12 as
Gooch scored 22 points for the game. The Lady Cats took the second half 44-18 and forced the home team into 40 turnovers.
Tameeka Rippy led the Lady Panthers with 10 points. It was a rare game that found Daniel scoring in single digits with seven.
Franklin is now 10-5 overall and 2-0 in the district. The Lady Panthers fell to 6-9, 1-2.
Russellville will next play in the Class A Classic regional as the home team. The Lady Panthers will meet the winner of Cumberland County at Glasgow on
Wednesday at 7:45 at Jim Young Gymnasium.
Score by Quarters:
1) F-S 11-10, 2) 26-21, 3) 45-28. Final)
Franklin-Simpson 70, Russellville 39
Chastity Gooch 22, Williams 10, Covington 8, Bryant 8, Smith 7, Curtis 5, Chatman 4, Clark 4, S. Gooch 2
Tameeka Rippy 10, Nakia Daniel 7, Amber Sydnor 7, Imani Hampton 6, Kesi Neblett 5, Victoria Hampton 3, Brittany Hampton 2, Collins 1, Hoosier, Rose