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‘Special energy’ fuels Franklin boys basketball to 12-0 start with 63-53 win over Randallstown

For Franklin boys basketball, this season has brought a different kind of energy.

Under first-year coach Keith Brown, the Indians are banking on tough defense, hitting the boards hard and sharing the ball on offense.

On Wednesday against Baltimore County rival Randallstown, host Franklin counted on all three to shake off the Rams for a 63-53 win that improved its record to 12-0.

Forward Reggie Asoluka set the tone with 16 points and relentless offensive rebounding, while six other Indians scored five or more points in a balanced team win.

“We just got special energy this year. Everybody is working hard, there’s a lot of team unity with the coaching staff as well,” Asoluka said. “This year we’re all together and we’re cooking up something special.”

The Indians led throughout the game and appeared ready to pull away early in the third quarter when they built their first double-digit lead and then made it 37-23 when Jadin Webb scored a basket with 5:23 left in the frame.

But the Rams, who got a game-high 27 points from guard Jameir Hopkins, turned some tough defense into quick points. In a four-minute stretch, Hopkins hit two 3-pointers and Davis Gabriel had a steal and layup to highlight an 18-4 run that cut the Indians’ lead to 41-39 with 1:16 left in the third quarter.

Brown was pleased what he saw from his team — a poised response. Points came from four players in the final minute of the quarter, with a basket from Webb after the Indians chased down another offensive board giving Franklin a 48-41 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Indians opened with five straight points, as baskets from Jeremiah Askew and Webb pushed the lead back to 53-41.

“I just told the guys, we just matured tonight,” Brown said. “We kept our composure. Sometimes we can get a little frustrated and hang our heads, but I saw everybody had everybody’s attention and we answered with our own run.”

Askew finished with 12 points, while Donovan Aus had 10 to join Asoluka in double figures for the winners. Webb had eight points.

For Randallstown (6-6), first-year coach Troy Burroughs continues to see flashes of quality play as the young Rams keep working hard on playing more consistently.

“We go in spurts where we look unbeatable and then we have spurts where we can’t beat anybody,” he said. “We cut the lead down to two at one point and then we turned the ball over a couple times and that’s kind of been our season.”

R — Hopkins 26, Gabriel 8, Davis 5, Brown 1, Simpson 4, Cooper 4, Williams 3, Stewart 2. Totals: 21 6-10 53

F — Smith 5, Khudoyberdiev 6, Webb 8, Asoluka 16, Uddin 5, Lee 1, Aus 10, Askew 12. Totals: 22 14-24 63

Halftime: F, 31-23