Five Takeaways: Franklin Road Academy-Middle Tennessee Christian School

High School

Posted On: 02/8/18 2:14 PM

In their opening round playoff tussle, Franklin Road Academy (#4 seed) knocked off Middle Tennessee Christian School (#5 seed), 55-51.  FRA managed to conclude the three-game sweep of competitive MTCS with the victory Wednesday evening.

Five themes slowly emerged throughout the night and helped define the game.


Franklin Road Academy suffered numerous turnovers in the opening half.  Head Coach John Pierce attributed it to nerves.

Misguided charges, overthrown passes littered the deck.  Basically the experienced Panthers just played like it could be their last game ever.  The playoff cliff forces many participants to peer down into the abyss, the looming season or career ending.   But FRA found courage and battled more crisply as the game wore on.

And Again

Franklin Road Academy (FRA) found offensive rebounds midway through the third quarter.  The more discernible energy investment certainly ramped up the FRA performance.  Kingston Gardner discovered a couple second chances with his own rebounding prowess.

Perhaps inspired by the crowd, who he inspired with his own hustle, Kingston Gardner drew an important late third quarter charge.


Star Foul

Midway through the second quarter officials tagged Tyrus Baynham Jr. with a second foul.  He headed to the bench for the remainder of the half.

Baynham Jr. was absolutely the competitor with the most college basketball potential in the fold.  While “star treatment” shouldn’t exist at the high school level, selfishly it infuriates my evaluation to see two phantom calls remove the dominant reason for attending from the contest.

Playing without Baynham Jr. did not poison the well for FRA though.  The remaining starters trudged through the morass rather effectively.  In all, the Panthers scored 14 points in the second quarter, which kept pace nicely with a confident MTCS team.

Middle Tennessee Christian School (MTCS) established a 26-24 first half with eight points from Steven Turnham.

Star Arrival

With extended playing time in the second half, after emerging from the foul-imposed banishment, Baynham Jr. came back with devotion.

Tyrus Baynham Jr. completely destroyed the tuckered MTCS defense.  As the FTA Panthers fed Baynham Jr. he punished the less athletic and often smaller MTCS defenders.

With 2:08 minutes left in the Tyrus floated coast-to-coast.  An early fourth quarter steal and subsequent two-handed poke inspired the Panthers and set a tone for the finishing frame.

A pull-up 10’ jumper with just over 2:00 left opened up a five point difference, 46-41.

Baynham Jr. lead a balanced Panther attack with 14 points, ten of them coming off his right hand in the second half.


The number of fouls called didn’t really destroy the flow, but the type certainly affected style of play.  About eight times the trio of officials whistled a defender for a futile handcheck.  While a handcheck can be disruptive these were much more antenna fingers than forearm braces.

Without the capability of defending with the whole body perimeter players generally just relinquished ground.  Driving lanes changed from lanes to chasms.  Getting into the paint required no amount of skill only intention.

By the fourth quarter, what cursory defense did exist vanished and almost all of MTCS’s points came after drawing fouls in dangerous areas of the floor.

Nate Howell scored nine of his 17 points in the quarter.  Five of those nine points came from the free throw line.  Steven Turnham also scored five free throws late.  The senior guard finished with 13 points overall.

The Panthers of Franklin Road Academy return to the court Friday at top-seeded C.P.A.

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