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Boys basketball goes 1-1 at USC

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

The first taste of varsity action for many of Franklin Regional's boys basketball players ended with mixed results.

The Panthers dropped their opening game to Upper St. Clair on Friday, 58-40, before rebounding to get a win over Monessen on Saturday, 69-54, in the consolation game of the Upper St. Clair Tipoff Tournament.

“Overall, I was happy,” Franklin Regional coach Brad Midgley said. “It was a new experience for a lot of our guys, so as a staff, we were kind of wondering what to expect. The first night, we didn't get any shots to drop for us, but we competed extremely hard and rebounded very well for a small team.”

One of the Panthers' few veterans, Charan Singh, led the team with 14 points in the opening-night loss. But Singh missed the second game with an ankle injury, and in his place, a handful of his teammates elevated their game.

George Brown, making his first varsity start for FR, led all players with 17 points and 15 rebounds, while Jake Roberge scored 16, Matt Renzi had 12, and Tyler Hamilton scored 10.

“Both nights, Tyler Hamilton and Jake Roberge stepped up as new varsity guys and rebounded extremely well from guard positions,” Midgley said. “And the second night, playing without Charan, George Brown had a terrific game.”

Most importantly, with the beginning of section play looming, many of Midgley's players began to accumulate some much-needed experience for the upcoming two months of games.

“A big thing for us is worrying about ourselves more than anyone else,” Midgley said. “We know Central Catholic (FR's first section opponent) and some of these other teams are good, but we have to concentrate on how we play.

“It's hard to gauge a certain time when we're really going to be ready. We just want to use all of these (nonsection) games to get prepared for our section games.”

Franklin Regional hosted a four-team tournament with Westinghouse, Monessen and Norwin on Tuesday and Wednesday, after this edition's deadline. Those games are the team's final contests before starting Section 2-AAAA play at home against Central Catholic on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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