Four FHS players win All-Conference honors in basketball

Four Franklin High School varsity basketball players were named to the 2022-23 All-Conference team (L-R): Max McClure, Cal Drake, Parker Cabe, and Kehler Lamb. Photo courtesy of Franklin Panthers Sports Network

Dan Finnerty – Sports Writer

The 3A Conference 54 has named its All-Conference Team for 2022-2023. Franklin High School (FHS) saw four members of the men’s varsity basketball program selected for the team. Players are chosen by receiving the most votes from seven participating conference coaches; a coach cannot nominate his own player(s). 

On March 1, FHS Varsity Basketball Head Coach Doug Plemmons announced that seniors Cal Drake, Parker Cabe, and Kehler Lamb, along with sophomore Max McClure, each of whom played in all 25 games this season, will represent the Panthers. Power forward/center Drake led the team in many scoring categories, including points (439), field goals (FG) made (155), and attempted (304), FG% (51), and free throws (FT) made/attempted (97/126). He also led the team in rebounds (191) and in blocks (44). Cabe, at power/small forward, tied for second in FG% (48), 2-point FG’s attempted (157), and FT’s made/attempted (72/100). Cabe was third in points scored (265). He was also second in both steals (68) and blocks (21). 

At the guard position, Lamb finished first in steals (72), second in assists (65), third in both FG% (45) and rebounds (164), and he led starting players with fewest turnovers (28). The point guard, McClure, is the only returning player for 2023-24. He was first in 3-point FGs made (49) and attempted (144), and he tied (with Drake) for first in FT% (77), second in points (358), FG’s (128), and FG’s attempted (293).

Coach Plemmons reported that all three seniors intend to sign on with a college and that word will be forthcoming soon on where they will end up. Some of the other senior players have intentions to undertake college careers as well; but again, the exact locations are still undecided/unannounced. 

As for McClure, the coach explained, “Max took on a huge role for us this year as our point guard … he did a fantastic job stepping into that role as a sophomore.” 

Anticipating next year, Plemmons believes the team is going to be fine. Addix Sutton is one player coming up to the varsity level who will help bridge the gap left by departing senior players.  

“He settled us down and was a backup point guard,” the coach said about Sutton. “He is one of the main reasons we won at Hayesville, ending a long home-winning streak by them. I think he’s a winner. I don’t think he will wow you, but he makes good decisions and he’s always calm.” 

Sutton’s development and maturity may actually allow the Panthers to move McClure to another position to provide McClure more scoring opportunities. And while some height is lost, especially with Drake’s departure, Plemmons’s returning players are expected to compensate in growth over another year, experience, and athleticism.

“Braylen (Dezarn) is really fast, Noah Brannon is going to be a heck of a player, and we have some guys coming back with size,” pointed out Plemmons. “Kaleb Chapman is 6’5”, Jacob Gibson should be about 6’5” by next year, and Braxton Deal is around 6’2” or 6’3”.” 

FHS Men’s Basketball Alumni Game scheduled

Plemmons has also organized and scheduled a FHS Men’s Basketball Alumni Game/Get Together, Saturday, March 18, at 6 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. He said that it has been at least 20 years since a similar gathering has taken place in honor of former FHS basketball athletes. All former players who finished their careers at Franklin are invited. 

“I am hoping to have a good turnout and if they can play in the game that’s okay,” said Plemmons. “Even if they can’t play, I still want them to come because I’m hoping a lot of the guys show up. There are still people in town that played basketball here and it’s just an opportunity to reconnect.” 

Plemmons coached at FHS from 1993 until 2009 and came back again in 2016. This will be the first attempt at getting alumni together since then.

A raffle will be a part of the gathering that includes a variety of prizes, such as meals at local restaurants and rounds of golf. Basketball jerseys will be sold as well. The coach is hoping some of the returning alumni will help fundraising efforts by purchasing their former jersey or even one from another era with their number on it. He announced 20 people signed up already as of March 2. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for FHS students, and $1 for children under 12 years old. Concessions will also be sold at the game.

For more information, contact Cindy Christie at 864-506-5691; or, follow her on Facebook.