Wildcats sting Hornets

ABBEVILLE - Desmond Taylor led a balanced led scoring attack with 12 points as the Abbeville Wildcats hustled their way to a 57-42 victory Friday night over the Franklin Hornets.

Taylor penetrated Franklin’s defense at will and either finished himself, or found the open man. Behind their point guard, the Wildcats fell behind early, built at lead, watched it slip away, and then blew the game open.

“Desmond is our spark plug,” said Wildcats’ head coach Berwick Hamilton. “He leads us in scoring and assists. As he goes, we go.”

Franklin took an early lead as Taylor and his teammates struggled to make shots in the paint against a taller Hornets’ defense.

Jarion Brown scored eight of his game-high 15 points in the first quarter for Franklin. Simieon Theodile also started fast with seven points. After one quarter of play, the Hornets led 17-12.

“We need to let them foul us under the basket and go shoot free throws,” Hamilton said concerning unfinished plays. “Instead of a circus shot, let them hit you, take the foul and go to the line.”

After both teams struggled with turnovers at the start of the second quarter, Abbeville found its rhythm and scored eight straight points. Tristan Greene also scored eight in the quarter for the Wildcats, including two 3-pointers.

Not until the 3:42 mark did Franklin put the ball in the hole. Theodile made 1-2 free throws, trimming the Wildcats’ lead 20-18. The teams fought defensively for a minute, before Theodile again went 1-2 from the charity stripe, making it 20-19 with 2:13 to play
in the half.

Abbeville ran its offense for the next 45 seconds, moving the ball and forcing the Hornets to play defense. Greene landed on the free throw line after drawing a foul on a baseline jumper. He made both shots and extended to the Wildcat lead to three with 1:28
remaining.

Brennen Robinson tied the score at 22 with a 3-pointer with only 35.4 seconds remaining. Abbeville quickly scored four-straight. Taylor’s pass to Matthew Johnson just before the buzzer gave Abbeville the 26-22 halftime lead.

The two teams battled defensively over the first four minutes of the second half. The Hornets pulled to within one after several Abbeville failed to convert in the paint several times. Franklin regained the lead, 29-28, after Brown sank two free throws with 3:57 to
go in the third.

Abbeville answered with a 6-1 run to end the quarter leading 35-29. Once again, Taylor ignited the fire by getting into the paint and finding open teammates for easy shots.

Greene opened the fourth quarter scoring with his third 3-pointer stretching the lead to nine. At the 6:04 mark, Jordan Brooks grabbed an offensive rebound and scored the put-back putting the Wildcats up 40-29. Robinson scored Franklin’s first basket of the
fourth after grabbing an offensive rebound of his own with 5:36 to play.

Brooks’ layup, following a wild skirmish that saw several bodies hit the floor, pushed Abbeville’s lead to 44-34 with 3:32 remaining. Taylor’s layup with 1:33 remaining extended the lead to 50-36.

The teams traded three baskets before Franklin got called for a technical foul with 8.4 seconds left in the game. Taylor made 1-2 from the line to complete the scoring.

The win improves Abbeville’s record to 7-10 on the season as they kickoff District 6-3A next Tuesday at Erath.

“We’ve played some tough competition to prepare us for district,” said Hamilton. “Our losses have been to teams like Rayne, Comeaux, Lafayette, Acadiana and the close loss to North Vermilion. We’ve improved and tonight we looked ready for district.”

Taylor’s 12 points led three Wildcats in double figures. Greene registered 11 points and Clememts Dorsey added 10. Jaron Hoffpauir and Brooks each scored eight while Matthew Johnson scored six points and Ashton Greene scored two.

Rosco Harrington
Sports Correspondent

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