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Franklin Regional boys putting up points in bunches

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Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional forward Matt Fisch drives on Penn Hills forward Deandre Schifino-Winbush during their December 21, 2012 contest in Murrysville.
Top high school sports
By Ed Phillipps
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The offense of the Franklin Regional boys basketball team already looks to be in midseason form.

The Panthers (1-1) scored 159 points as they split games with Obama Academy (an 89-82 loss Friday) and Monessen (a 77-54 win Saturday) at the Upper St. Clair Tournament.

Point guard Matt Renzi paced the offense Friday night, with 28 points — including eight 3-pointers — and five assists. Matt Fisch added 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Todd Summers chipped in 13 points.

Renzi had a 27-point performance Saturday, and Summers added 10. Three players came close to double-digit rebounds, including Devin Arrigo (nine), Jake Roberge (nine) and Fisch (eight).

“If anything surprised me, it was how much we scored in both games,” coach Brad Midgley said.

Both Obama and Monessen pushed the pace and played at a fast tempo, and the Panthers were happy to oblige.

Obama's size and skill tipped the game in its favor Friday night. Midgley said his squad had some chances at the end to close the gap, but credited Obama for making stops when it needed to.

Overall, Midgley said it was a successful weekend for the Panthers, who look like they will not have a problem putting up points this season. He expects a rotating cast of high scorers to fill up box scores.

Renzi, a 5-foot-10 point guard, Fisch, a 6-foot-5 power forward, and Summers, a 6-foot-4 forward, can all pile up points.

“There's going to be some individuals that have some pretty big games for us,” Midgley said.

The Panthers will need to be at their best in a loaded Section 2-AAAA that features three of the Tribune-Review's top teams in third-ranked Gateway (1-1), fourth-ranked Fox Chapel (2-0) and sixth-ranked Central Catholic (2-0).

The Panthers played each of those teams twice last season and went a combined 0-6. They finished the season 12-10 overall and 6-8 in the section.

“I think we have a chance to do well,” Midgley said.”There's a lot of teams with a lot of guys back. Unfortunately, there's about six playoff-type teams in the section, but only four get to make it.

“We can't really worry what other teams are doing against other teams in the section. We just have to worry about what we're supposed to do so we can end up in one of those four spots.”

The Panthers hope to be able to control the pace of their games. They would like to run the court and score, forcing opponents to catch up.

“If we get the chance, we always want to speed the game up,” said Midgley.

Franklin Regional hosted the Mike Rettger Memorial Tournament, featuring Monessen, Norwin and Westinghouse, on Tuesday and Wednesday. The games ended past the deadline for this week's edition. The Panthers will travel to play Pittsburgh Central Catholic in their section opener Friday.

Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.

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