Panthers sweep section hoops doubleheader
Franklin Regional's basketball teams wrapped up play before Christmas with a pair of Section 2-AAAA wins at home over Penn Hills on Friday.
The boys team (4-3, 1-2) closed out the doubleheader with its first section win of the season, as it held off the Indians (1-6, 0-3), 67-62.
Matt Fisch led Franklin Regional with a team-high 16 points, 13 of which came in the first half when FR pulled out to a nine-point halftime lead.
The Indians, led by Willie James' 18 points, opened the second half on a 7-0 run to close the gap, but Franklin Regional never conceded the lead, even when Penn Hills made it 60-59 with 4:12 left in the game.
“I don't know if we circled this game as a must win, but as far as answering adversity, it was big for us. We just couldn't put them away in the second half,” Franklin Regional coach Brad Midgley.
Matt Renzi score 14, and Nate Hlozek scored 11 for the Panthers, who next play in Moon's Christmas Tournament against North Hills on Thursday at 6 p.m.
The FR girls (3-3, 1-1) also got their first section win of the season over the Indians (2-5, 0-2) as they, like the boys team, opened up a nine-point halftime lead before finishing the night with a 61-51 win.
Unlike in the second game, Penn Hills never pulled too close to the Panthers in the second half, despite a 25-point game by Gloria Schifino. Franklin Regional was led by Erin DiFalco and Baylee Buleca, who both scored 14 points, and Maggie Kimmich, who added 10.
The FR girls next will face the host team in the Laurel Highlands Christmas Tournament on Thursday.
Franklin Regional senior linebacker Carter Henderson was named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers' Association Class AAA All-State Team released on Friday.
Henderson was the leading tackler this season for the Panthers with 145 tackles, 86 of them solo. One of the team's defensive captains, he also had seven sacks on the season.
Henderson was the only WPIAL defensive player selected to the Class AAA team.