ALTON — After dropping their opening game of the tournament, the O'Fallon Panthers made the best of the situation.
Sophomore guard Donovan Franklin scored 22 points and the O'Fallon Panthers turned back a late charge by Vashon in beating the Wolverines 62-59 on Saturday in the Alton Tip-Off Classic.
The Panthers, who improved to 3-1 after opening the tourney with a 66-62 loss to the Jacksonville Crimsons, placed second in the tournament.
"I'm happy to go 3-1 in this tournament," O'Fallon coach Rick Gibson said. "After that first loss, you've got some tough ones coming up, and you're like, 'We could end up 0-4.' The kids rallied after that first game being a tough, close loss. They responded well, so I am really proud of them."
Franklin said losing their season-opener spurred the Panthers to work harder.
"That first game was tough on us," Franklin said. "We just went back to practice and worked hard to get better as a team. The first game we didn't play as a team. The other three games, we just came out harder."
The Wolverines tied the score four times in the second half, but they could never take the lead.
"That's like a couple of other games where we bend a little bit, but we're able to hang on," Gibson said. "We're a young team early in the season that is just learning to play with that intensity for 32 minutes.
"Not saying, 'OK, now we have a little bit of lead, so now we can let up for a couple of possessions.' You just can't do that. You let up for a couple of possessions, and it becomes contagious where that other team starts smelling blood a little bit."
With the score tied at 53-53, Parker Roustio put the Panthers ahead to stay with a layup with 2:38 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Todd Porter added a layup to put O'Fallon up by four.
Charlie Harmon scored from underneath with 1:16 to go and Franklin sank three of his four free throws in the final 20 seconds to seal the win.
"He had a real good tournament," Gibson said of Franklin. "He came off the bench in that first game and he started these other games. Sometimes he makes mistakes and you forget that he is still a sophomore --a young sophomore -- out there. You can live with some of his mistakes because he's doing a lot of good things for us."
Derrick Mitchell, who had a game-leading 26 points, banked in a 3-pointer for Vashon with one second on the clock.
"I'm glad we had a six-point lead on that one," Gibson said of the 3-pointer.
The Wolverines could have made it closer if they weren't 1-for-6 at the free-throw line in the final minute.
The Panthers also got 15 points from Roustio, 10 points from Harmon and nine points from Porter.
Mitchell scored on a layup off the opening tip to help the Wolverines grab a quick 4-0 lead.
Trailing 8-4, the Panthers scored the final six points of the opening period to take a 10-4 lead.
A layup by Franklin with one second left in the first quarter capped the surge.
O'Fallon stretched its lead to 18-11 on a layup by Berry, but the Wolverines closed the gap to 24-22 on a short jumper by Antonio Meanus with three seconds left in the second quarter.
A breakaway layup Mitchell tied the score at 24-24 early in the third quarter.
The Panthers closed the third quarter on a 14-6 run that included five points from both Roustio and Franklin.
O'Fallon's advantage reached 10 points on two free throws by Harmon just 10 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Mitchell brought the Wolverines back to within 51-49 with two 3-pointers and a three-point play.
Two free throws by Mitchell tied the score at 51-51 with 3:54 remaining.
O'Fallon will play two road games -- it visits Granite City on Friday and Centralia on Saturday -- this week.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.