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Bulldogs enter final stretch firing on all cylinders

Justin Addison, Editor/Publisher
Posted 2/6/24

The No. 7 New Franklin boys had a wild week of basketball, winning three games over a span of five days by a total of 26 points. The first came against Class 4 Boonville at home on Tuesday, Jan. 30, …

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Bulldogs enter final stretch firing on all cylinders


The No. 7 New Franklin boys had a wild week of basketball, winning three games over a span of five days by a total of 26 points. The first came against Class 4 Boonville at home on Tuesday, Jan. 30, and ended with an overtime victory, 55-53. On Friday, the Bulldogs took down Cairo 59-44 in a physical contest on Homecoming. The next day, they fended off Schuyler County 54-45 at the Mid-Missouri Invitational at Harrisburg.

“For back-to-back games, after homecoming, I thought our boys played great,” said New Franklin coach Jim Schlotzhauer after Saturday’s game in Harrisburg.

Jan. 30

Boonville 53

New Franklin 55

Tuesday’s game against the Boonville Pirates was the first between the two teams in more than four decades, despite the schools being only a few miles from one another, and was a battle from end to end. For the Bulldogs, defeating a team two classes up would be self-affirming after losing to rival Salisbury three days before. For Boonville, losing to a smaller school would be a tough pill to swallow with the postseason looming.

“Boonville is a long, physical basketball team,” Schlotzhauer said. “Playing and losing to Salisbury on Saturday really helped prepare our guys for the zone we played against tonight. Both of those teams do things with their zones that we cannot simulate in practice. I think our kids did a very nice job of stepping up and having great possession against their zone.”

Neither team gave an inch, with Boonville pulling ahead by one point, 14-13, after one quarter. After allowing Boonville to go up by three, New Franklin played a spirited second quarter, highlighted by a five-point run, to outscore the Pirates 14-8. The Bulldogs lead by as much as six before taking a five-point lead into the break, 27-22.

Boonville pulled ahead early in the third quarter and later tied the game, but New Franklin again responded with a pair of 6-0 runs, the second of which came from the arc on 3-point baskets by Rylan Hundley and Jake Marshall to retake the lead 39-33 after three quarters.

New Franklin led again by as much as eight points in the fourth quarter. That’s when Boonville senior Dakota Troost came alive with three 3-point shots, the final of which came with half a minute on the clock to tie the game at 49-49, a score that would stand until the final buzzer.

“On the defensive side, our kids made Boonville work for everything,” Schlotzhauer said. “Really, until Troost hit the three threes in the fourth, they were only going to be in the forties. Only giving up 53 in an overtime game is a pretty special effort by our guys.”

The overtime period was no different than the four quarters of regulation. Both teams tightened down, playing to another tie until New Franklin senior Tanner Bishop broke free for a layup with 10 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a two-point lead with the seconds ticking down. A pair of missed free throws with less than two seconds to play allowed the Bulldogs to walk away on top.

“Tonight was a heck of an atmosphere for both teams to play in,” Schlotzhauer said. ‘The gym was electric, and the game didn’t disappoint by going into overtime. It was a wire-to-wire contest.”

New Franklin seniors Connor Wilmsmeyer and Drake Clark led their team with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Marshall added nine, followed by Hundley with six. 

Troost paced Boonville with a game-high 19 points, followed by Braylon Ellison with 10.

“I’m already looking forward to playing in Boonville next year,” said Schlotzhauer. “I hope both communities enjoyed the game as much as I did. Basketball is fun to watch when you have two teams that have a lot on the line, a lot of people in the gym, and the kids won’t give an inch. This was a good bounce-back win for our guys.”

Feb. 2

Cairo 44

New Franklin 59

The Bulldogs had three days off after the exhaustive overtime win over Boonville on Tuesday, and they did not disappoint Friday before an enlivened Homecoming crowd. After trading baskets against CAC opponent Cairo, the Bulldogs took the lead for good with 4:44 on the clock when senior Drake Clark scored a putback to go up 8-7. New Franklin would then outscore the Bearcats 7-2 over the next two minutes to take a 15-9 lead after one quarter en route to a 30-14 lead at halftime.

But despite a 16-point deficit at halftime, Cairo was far from ceding the conference contest. The Bearcats entered the third quarter with renewed life and put up five points to New Franklin’s two over the first two minutes of the second half to signal an unwillingness to give in.

New Franklin answered with a pair of buckets, and the two teams duked it out to the end of the period that saw the Bearcats outscore the Bulldogs 21-16. With one quarter left to play, only 11 points separated the two rowdy teams.

Cairo’s four-point comeback in the third quarter was not nearly enough to unsettle a 16-point halftime disparity. The Bearcats came as close as eight points in the fourth quarter when senior Dalton Taylor sank a 3-pointer with 4:46 to play. But little did anyone know, it would be the Bearcats’ final field goal of the game. 

Cairo scored just two more points when Logan Luecke made two free throws with 1:09 left to play to total their score at 44. New Franklin, meanwhile, made half of its 10 free throws in the final 2:55 to preserve a double-digit win, 59-44.

“The boys guarded very well tonight,” said New Franklin coach Jim Schlotzhauer. “Holding Cairo to 44 is a good number. We had trouble putting them away. Cairo executed a lot better in the second half, but we made enough plays to finish with a comfortable lead.”

Feb. 3

New Franklin 54

Schuyler County 45

New Franklin didn’t have long to cherish the Homecoming win. On Saturday, the Bulldogs made the trip to Harrisburg for a neutral-site game against Schuyler County at the Mid-Missouri Invitational. 

The matchup pitted two teams with outstanding records against one other for a thrilling Class 2 bout. New Franklin entered with an overall record of 18-3. Schuyler County boasted a 17-3 record, having won seven straight games before losing to Green City 75-58 the night before.

New Franklin won the action-packed first quarter 23-20 and outscored the Rams 11-7 in the second to take a healthy 34-27 lead into the break. But Schuyler County held New Franklin to six points in the third quarter to make it a two-point game with one frame left to play.

New Franklin responded with a 14-7 fourth-quarter to walk away with a nine-point victory.

“I thought our boys played great,” said New Franklin coach Jim Schlotzhauer. “If you watched the game, you may not think so, but both teams had tough games Friday and had to bounce back. I respect the way that they move the ball and play very selflessly. When we are playing our best, I think that is how we play as well. I liked how we worked the ball side to side tonight and found the matchup we felt we could attack. Very proud of how this group fought for the win against a team with a 17-3 record tonight. This was a good quality win for us.”

The Bulldogs are on the verge of earning their second straight 20-plus win season in a row, and their seventh in the last five years. New Franklin is currently 19-3 overall, having won nine out of the last 10 games, with four games left in the regular season, all against CAC opponents. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs were set to face Slater (9-11) at home after the Advertiser went to press. On Friday, they play at Sturgeon (8-12).

New Franklin hosts its final home game of the season next Tuesday against Pilot Grove (12-9) for senior night. The Bulldogs end the regular season at Glasgow (14-7) on Thursday. 

The Class 2 District 7 Tournament opens on Feb. 20 and will be hosted by Glasgow. Brackets and seedings have not been announced.


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