Boys Basketball

Franklin sets scoring mark in O’Fallon’s convincing win over East

A record that had lasted since The Rolling Stones were relevant finally met the end of its line Friday.

Senior Donovan Franklin became O’Fallon’s career scoring leader in the Panthers’ 74-45 victory over Belleville East in a Southwestern Conference game.

Franklin finished with 18 points and set the record when he made a 3-pointer with six seconds to play in the first half. The basket gave Franklin 1,533 points, one more than Marv Reno. Franklin tacked on five second-half points to give him 1,538.

Reno’s record of 1,532 points had lasted since 1970.

“It felt good, but I’m just glad my team got the win,” the 6-foot-5 Franklin said. “We got a big conference win; that’s all that matters.”

It also was the 200th career win for O’Fallon coach Rick Gibson.

The Panthers improved to 16-7 overall and 8-2 in the SWC. East, which hung with O’Fallon until late in the first quarter, fell to 8-15 and 2-9.

Franklin said he didn’t know he needed three points to break the record when he launched his shot from beyond the arc on the left side. His aim was perfect, giving O’Fallon a 37-22 lead at halftime.

“I didn’t even think about it,” said Franklin, who is unsigned. “I just shot the ball and was glad it went in. It’s a big milestone for me, especially going into college this year. I’m just glad I’m leaving some history behind.”

Gibson has seen his share of good players in his 10 years with the Panthers, which makes Franklin’s accomplishment all the more impressive.

“It’s great,” Gibson said. “I’m proud of him; I’m happy for him. There have been a lot of good players that have walked through this school – just recently, guys I’ve coached like Roosevelt Jones and Kenny Leverette.

“I obviously never saw Marv Reno; that was before my time. But everyone talks about what a player he was.”

Senior Darien McClain scored 12 points for the Panthers, Cokenour had 10 and junior Chance Armstrong also chipped in with 10. Junior Bradley Harrison came off the bench and scored nine, while senior Caleb Wegner had eight in a reserve role.

Junior Jalen Jones and sophomore Rico Sylvester scored 10 apiece for East.

The game was tied at 10 when Jones had a steal and layup for the Lancers with 2:26 left in the first quarter. O’Fallon senior Nathan Cokenour then reeled off three consecutive baskets in the lane, one on a slick feed from McClain, to spark a 10-0 run that gave the Panthers a 20-10 lead with 6:55 left in the first half.

East was within 23-15 on a runner by Jones with 5:14 remaining in the half, but the Panthers scored 14 of the final 21 points of the half and were never threatened again.

“We wanted to keep building on the lead,” Gibson said. “Last time we played them, we got off to a real good first half and then they came back the second half on us. We talked about that giving them confidence. We knew we needed to come out and get off to a good start, but then keep building on that. The second quarter was key.”

The Lancers fell behind 51-28 when Harrison had a layup on a pass from Franklin with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter. The margin grew to 32 points (72-40) in the waning moments.

“We didn’t shoot the ball especially well,” said Lancers coach Abel Schrader, whose team shot 36 percent (16-for-45) from the field and committed 13 turnovers. “The second half, the kids didn’t compete and O’Fallon seemed to make plays. It got ugly on us.

“Our kids have been down at halftime quite a bit this year. Tonight, we didn’t come out with energy and we didn’t come out with any fight. O’Fallon put it to us. You’ve got to give credit to O’Fallon. They’re a very good team and they played well.”

The Panthers shot 57 percent (30-for-53) and had just eight turnovers. O’Fallon got 24 points from its bench, one more than East got from its starters.

“It was good to see a lot of production from a lot of guys,” Gibson said.

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