Basketball Academy: #12 St. Frances wins Private vs. Public duel, 81-70
St. Frances Academy has a rich basketball background. A lot of great players have played for that program, and they attract some of the best young talent in the city. So it's only right that a rich program with 6 losses by January, would have people worried and saying "bad start", despite their strength of schedule and 17 wins. I'll admit I am one of those people but I'll admit that I'm wrong; I was wrong about this Frances team.
St. Frances and Milford probably had the best game of the night, just because it was fast pace, back-n-forth basketball. Both teams have a great group of kids that plays high-level High School basketball. Both schools came into this game ranked in the top 15 in the area, Milford ranked #7 and St. Frances #12. Both teams were making good plays but the other team would follow up with a great play. It was very great game to watch.
Milford got off to a great start, Justin Jenifer sparking a 7-0 run with a opening 3-pointer in the first quarter. St. Frances would answer though, and very quickly. In less than 3 minutes Frances turned a 7-0 deficit into a 9-9 tie with their own 9-2 run. At that point I knew I was in for a great game.
In the second quarter, Frances' frontcourt started to dominate the game. Eric Cobb, who will be attending Kansas State next season, used his 6'9 frame to his advantage against the Milford front court. During a 9-2 run in the second quarter, he accounted for 6 points, all in the paint. Cobb finished with 10 points. Other big man, Joshua Ayeni, also finished with 10 points. Elijah Cooper, who finished with 22 points, did his best to cancel out the Frances bigs but both were heavier and taller than Cooper.
Milford never backed down from the Panthers. Normally, Frances would be the favorite but these teams were evenly matched, especially in the backcourt. Justin Jenifer of course is the household name, but 2-guard, Josh Fulton is a good basketball player. Fulton is 6'1 but has great scoring ability. He is perfect piece to compliment because he can hold his own, while being that scoring threat, to what Bruce Watkins was for the Millers in 2013. He only had 9 points, all coming in the first half.
Jenifer finished with 14 points but had some of the prettiest passes you'll ever see. When it comes to attacking the basket and dishing the rock, Jenifer is one of the best in the state, if not the best. He will be attending Cincinnati next season Frances have their own star backcourt with Kurk Lee Jr. and Khalil Richards. These two have been apart of the Frances varsity squad since their sophomore season and it shows. These two combined for 21 second half points (34 total), helping seal the game. Both are uncommited
While the backcourt production came in the second half, the first half belonged to sophomore forward, Andre Rafus. Rafus scored 17 points, 11 of which came in the 2nd quarter. Rafus hit back-to-back-to-back trey balls that help keep Frances in this game.
I'm not sure how Frances loss 6 times, twice to Mt. St. Joe, which I know burns them up. They also have losses to John Carroll and Mt. Carmel, which are very legitimate losses, but you expect Frances to come out on top in those tough Catholic League battles. If this team somehow manages to get hot though, they will be very difficult to beat.