FHS Sports: Warriors Basketball Tops Hunterdon Central To Kick Off Season

Senior Edward Turay, No. 4, prepares to take the first of his two free-throws that would give the Warriors a four-point lead with less than 30 seconds to play in the game.

Anthony Milligan scored 15 of his game-leading 21 points from downtown as the Franklin High School Warriors defeated the Hunterdon Central Red Devils 65-59 in their season opener.

Milligan also scored three field goals and had 10 rebounds, one block and a steal in the winning effort.

The Warriors built a slight lead from the jump, ending the first quarter up 18-16.

The Red Devils tied the game at 18 early in the second quarter, then took a brief lead before Franklin regained control.

Franklin went into the locker room at halftime with a 39-28 lead, outscoring Hunterdon 21-12 in the frame.

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The Franklin High School Lady Warriors extended their winning streak (begun last season) to 35 games December 20 with a 57-31 win against Hunterdon Central

Senior Keona Schenck led all scorers with 28 points, while her sister Kennady scored 12 points and Onoseta Ufuah scored 10 points.

The Lady Warriors play next at 3 p.m. December 21 at home.

The Warriors outscored Hunterdon 16-8 in the last five minutes of the second quarter.

It was much of the same in the third quarter, and although Hunterdon outscored the Warriors 13-10, they were still down 49-41 at the buzzer.

The fourth quarter was when the game got interesting.

With the Warriors plagued by turnovers the entire game, a few costly ones allowed Hunterdon Regional to chip away at the lead, at times coming within two points of Franklin.

But the Warriors dogged defense shut the Red Devils down when it mattered.

With the Warriors leading by seven points – 61-54 – with about a minute and a half to go, Hunterdon scored five to bring the count to 61-59.

But two clutch free-throws by senior Edward Turay gave the Warriors some breathing room at 63-59 with 27 seconds left to play.

Senior Tracy Brown added the icing with a steal and a layup to make the final score 65-59.

“This was a good win,” Warriors head coach Tony Mento said after the game, noting that Hunterdon Central had beaten the Warriors three times last season.

“It’s kind of been a mountain we’ve been trying to climb, trying to build this thing up into a competitive program annually, and that was one of the mountains we needed to climb,” he said of beating Hunterdon.

There were times when the Warriors’ lead was as many as 12 points, something that Mento said surprised him.

“We came out really strongly, and then we made a nice run,” he said. “We knew they’d keep coming, they always do. They’re a talented bunch, a disciplined bunch and for us to have been able to stave off every run they made, that’s a good high school basketball game for opening day.”

Mento said the team’s hallmark has become its defense.

“That’s the thing for the last couple of years that’s kept us in every game,” he said. “We score the ball a little bit better this year then we did last year, but we’ll stay competitive with the defense.”

Mento said he was glad his young team was tested this early in the season.

“I think we came out with fire, I think we came out with the passion we needed, and we are young, we’re an inexperienced team, and I’m glad, this early in the season, we got tested in the end,” he said. “They kept coming, they kept fighting, but we needed to learn to win a close game like this.”

Brown contributed 17 points, six rebounds, an assist and the end-of-game steal; Turay racked up 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks; juniro Demi Alao scored nine points and had five rebounds and an assist; junior Joshua Kuroda-Grauer had three points, seven rebounds and an assist; junior Krish Mistry had three points, four rebounds and a steal; sophomore Isaiah Cotton had a rebound, a block and a steal, and sophomore Anthony Edmundson had a block.

The Warriors face off next against Colonia at 5 p.m. December 23, at home.

Following are some scenes from the game:

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