Franklin Regional basketball team back from Md.
What by far was Franklin Regional's longest road trip of the year also turned out to be a successful one.
The Panthers won two of three games last week at the Governor's Challenge in Salisbury, Md., where they lost to home team Wicomico, 87-64, before beating two other Maryland teams — Snow Hill, 61-32; and Cambridge-South Dorcester, 66-41.
The trip was a productive one both on and off the court, according to head coach Brad Midgley, and he hopes it will pay dividends when the team returns to Section 2-AAAA play against Gateway at home Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“I thought it was a good trip for us, both for team-building and a chance to play a different style of play,” Midgley said.
“All three teams we played were from the Eastern Shore area, and all three were similar in style. They played a lot of pressure defensively and very run-and-gun on offense. The way our section is, you see some of that, but not a lot, so it was a good experience.”
Matt Renzi and Charan Singh both had good scoring days in the two wins for Franklin Regional (6-4). Singh scored 11 against Snow Hill and 13 against Cambridge-South Dorcester, while Renzi hit five 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 21 in the final game after scoring 10 the day before.
“All of our guys had different parts of games that they played well,” Midgley said. “Nate Hlozek brought us good energy and was close to scoring 10 points in all three games. Our guards handled the pressure pretty well all week, and Matt Renzi had a big game for himself with five 3-pointers on the last day.”
Apart from the on-court work, the trip gave the Panthers a chance to relax and spend time together as a group on the team's first out-of-state trip under Midgley.
“We stayed overnight in Hollidaysburg once, but this was the first one we've done where it's been multiple nights,” Midgley said. “It's good any time you get a chance to spend time together as a team, other than on the floor. The guys got to eat meals together and stay in the hotel together, so hopefully that strengthens our group.”
With six days to prepare for Gateway after the trip, Franklin Regional ended its holiday by getting back to basics ahead of the clash with the section-leading Gators.
“The extra time off is almost like the first couple of weeks of practice,” Midgley said. “We get to hit our fundamentals again. We can work on handling the ball, boxing out and talk about some philosophical things about how we want to play to get ready for Gateway.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.