By Martin Barrett
Brown and Moss wait to go into the game.
On Saturday night, veteran coach Craig Jackson’s Franklin Quakers beat former assistant and new Highline Pirate Head Coach Rick Frazier 61-53.
As predicted, it was a defensive struggle. For both coaches, shutting down the other side is the key to winning. On the Pirate side, Marcus Moss played with great defensive intensity. Moss broke up passes, cut off drives, and clogged lanes.
Highline took an early lead. At the end of the first quarter, it was 11-7. The Pirates developed a good rhythm on offense in the second quarter, finishing the first half with a 23-16 lead. It seemed as though Highline, with more experienced players, was going to grow the gap steadily. Forward Ebrima Hren, who picked up 9 points for the night, made significant scoring contributions off the bench with solid inside plays and drives. “My IQ about the game has improved a lot this season. The game is slowing down for me, so I make fewer turnovers,” said Hren in a pre-game interview.
Ruben Humbert warms up. Humbert scored 6 Points in the game.
In pre-game interviews, players talked about how they’ve jelled together. “We are playing as a team,” said Moss, which Hren also echoed. In the first half of the game, this was the situation.
Coach Jackson made adjustments at the half, and the Quakers began to inch back into the game. Jackson’s team seemed to grow in defensive confidence. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the score was 39-37. The game went back and forth, tied at 39-39, with 7:30 left in the game. From that time forward, Franklin owned the boards, getting several attempts on offense and limiting Highline to one shot per possession. The pace of the game picked up as well. Highline seemed to lose focus, missing layups to turn the ball over. At 1:49 left in the game, the score was 53-50, but defense leader Moss and scoring leader Marquawn McCraney fouled out. Momentum Franklin.
The game was a tough loss for the Pirates and Head Coach Frazier. Highline was the more athletic team on the court. But Frazier’s mentor Coach Jackson had his team playing better defense than the Pirates have seen since their January streak began.
The Jackson and Frazier Family at the Game.
The Pirates are now 4-3 in district play with a legitimate shot at the postseason. The next game is away, against district rival Sammamish High School, Tuesday evening, January 17, at 7:15 PM.