Harris eclipses 1,000 as Charles City tops Franklin
Charles City’s Panthers entered Senior Night looking for a win against Franklin to assure a chance at a Tri-Rivers District basketball title. They not only won, but saw a milestone achieved as well.
Junior forward Antonio Harris scored 31 points and eclipsed the 1,000 point barrier as the hosts rolled to a 71-47 win over the visiting Broncos.
Charles City opened the game on a 10-2 run, capped by a Jaelen Cotman three-pointer. The Panthers would end the first quarter on top 16-6. The dominance continued in the first half as Harris converted on an up and under move with just under five seconds left in the first half to give the hosts a 13-point halftime lead [32-19].
Franklin’s best surge to make the game a contest began in the second half. Reshard Sumblin would connect on a long distance ball that would cut the deficit to 10. Bronco teammate Marcus Stephens narrowed the lead to single digits at 34-25 early on in the third.
The hosts, however, responded with a run that would put the Broncos away. Harris’ two free throws coupled with an inbounds steal and trifecta pushed the lead to 14. Harris added two more from the line, and the senior trio of Avery Jones, Ryan Jones and Jovan Howard added five more points to stretch the Panther lead to 21 at 51-30 by the end of the frame.
Franklin wouldn’t be deterred as they fought back furiously in the fourth, mounting a 10-0 run just before the five-minute mark, cutting the lead to 56-43 and causing Panther head coach Sharone Bailey to take a time out.
When action resumed, the Panthers regained control, putting together a 15-4 run to close the game. Harris hit a lay-up with just under two minutes to play to score his milestone points. His subsequent free throw ended his night with 1,001 career points.
After the game, Bailey spoke about the last comeback attempt made by the visiting Broncos in the final quarter.
“I told my team to settle down and stay focused and let’s get back into what we do,” he said. “We had to get back into playing our game.”
Bailey also spoke about Harris’ milestone night.
“In two years, he accomplished 1,000 points. He is great in the classroom, and he works very hard,” continued Bailey. “He is just overall a great person that is taking a leadership role and is taking the torch.”
With the regular season completed, the Panthers (13-9, 10-2 Tri-Rivers) now turn their attention to the postseason.
“We have to stay focused,” said Bailey. “The first goal is a district title that we have been starved for 11 years. We want to stay hungry and reflect from losing in the state semi-finals last year and that anything less than a state championship is unacceptable and not a good season.”
Harris was game-high scorer with his 31 points. Seniors would account for the remaining Panther points as Avery Jones added 17 and Howard pumped in six followed by Cotman’s five, Demaj Frazier’s four, and two each from Bryan Johnson, Daron Jones, Ryan Jones, and Jaelan Williams.