FHS men’s basketball lead conference

Coach Scott Hartbarger coaches varsity Lady Panthers to a win against Tuscola.

Dan Finnerty – Sports Writer

Mckenzie Holland and Lauren Shannon, FHS cheer/dance athletes, were named to All-Region Team. Their selection also comes with an invitation to try out for the N.C. All-State team on Sunday, Jan. 29, at Southern Alamance High School.

Franklin High School (FHS) basketball was on the road Tuesday to play the Pisgah Bears. Entering the game, the Pisgah men were in the middle of the pack for conference play at 3-4. Conversely, for the women, Pisgah led the 3A Conference 54 with a 7-0 record, one game ahead of the Lady Panthers. The Lady Bears handled Franklin easily, 71-42. The only period where FHS outscored Pisgah was the final one, after the outcome was determined.

The Pisgah women now have a two-game lead in the conference and snapped the Lady Panthers’ six-game win streak. On the men’s side, Franklin led the entire game but found themselves in foul trouble most of the night. In the end, the Panthers prevailed 65-58. Cal Drake topped all scorers with 20 points and Parker Cabe had 19. The varsity men are now 17-2 overall and 9-0 in conference with a nine-game win streak.

FHS Head Coach Doug Plemmons also commented on the varsity Panthers’ recent big comeback against East Henderson, Jan. 18, and the tough road games upcoming.

“The boys played hard defense in the second half, which really helped them cut down the point margin and pull out the win in overtime against East. The North and West games are two big games for us coming up that will help determine conference seeding and possibly playoff seeding as well – always tough, but exciting games when we go up against either of those schools.”

FHS also earlier hosted Tuscola, Friday, Jan. 20, and with the Mountaineers struggling in conference this season, the games went in predictable fashion. Both FHS junior varsity teams won; the boys had a resounding 60-27 victory while the girls won a tighter 45-38 contest. The men’s varsity team never trailed and won 80-52, extending their winning streak to eight games. Sophomore Max McClure led the scoring with 14 points, with senior Josh Zoellner contributing 13 points. The Lady Panthers also won handily with a 64-29 defeat that saw their record increase to 12-6 overall and 7-1 in conference. Taking the lead for good at 3:36 left in the first period, the varsity women extended their own winning streak at the time to six games. Sophomore Cali Queen put in 16 to pace the scoring for the varsity women.

Additionally, two of the Lady Panthers cheer and dance athletes were named to the 2023 North Carolina All-Region Cheer Team. Mckenzie Holland and Lauren Shannon will be part of the N.C. Cheerleading Coaches Association State Cheerleading Championship at North Raleigh Christian School. Their selection also comes with an invitation to try out for the N.C. All-State Team on Sunday, Jan. 29, at Southern Alamance High School.

Runners break FHS indoor 

track records

At the Jan. 18 Swain County track meet, the FHS Indoor Track team gained one new state qualifier to bring their season total to 34, more than tripling the number of qualifiers from last year. Senior Isaiah Roots qualified in the 300 meter (m), while also breaking the school record. Junior Elijah Cochran broke both the 55m run and 55m hurdles records. Additionally, junior Hope Smith broke the girls 300m school record.

The girls’ four-person, 200m relay team, comprising all grade levels, with senior Isabelle Duchermin, junior Hope Smith, sophomore Laura Covarrubias, and freshman Michelle Ortega, broke the FHS indoor record and are currently ranked first in the 3A conference. Coach Matt Harlfinger pointed out, “We also had numerous personal bests, which moved our athletes up even higher in the state rankings. We have about four more athletes within inches or milliseconds of getting through.”