Roberts' last second shots push FA to district crown

FRANKLIN ACADEMY junior varsity basketball team is the 2020 district champions. Pictured above is (front row from left) Morgan Rollins, Riley Remore, Cason Cloessner and Addison Spradling. (back row from left) Assistant coach  Robby Spradling, Sam Carrington, Hoyt Carroll, Aiden Ward, Kyler Roberts and head coach Chris Winterman. (Submitted photo)

A last second shot to win a basketball game is exciting.

What’s more exciting?

Try a last second shot to propel a team into the finals of the district championship tournament.

Then top that shot with another last second 3/4 court shot to win the district championship.

Now that’s exciting.

Both shots were made by Kyler Roberts with Franklin Academy junior varsity basketball team to claim the 2020 district championship, Feb. 1.

“The crowd went crazy,” said Chris Winterman, head coach for junior varsity boys basketball. “I’m so proud of the boys. They never gave up and never lost sight. They were playing hard to the very end.”

FA entered the tournament as three seed out of four teams with a 5-4 overall record. The top four teams out of six district teams were invited to the tournament.

FA’s first matchup saw the Cougars facing host team and number two seed, Prairie View Academy - a team the Cougars had lost twice to in the regular season.

With four seconds left in regulation, Roberts made the go ahead score (34-32) to push the Cougars into a championship game against undefeated, number one seed, Riverdale Academy - another team the Cougars had lost twice to in the regular season.

Against Riverdale, the Cougars played strong and kept the score close. With 1.8 seconds on the clock and the score 34-33, the ball was inbounded to who else but recent hero — Kyler Roberts.

Roberts took two dribbles and threw up a shot behind half court.

“The ball hit the backboard and went in,” Winterman remembered. “The crowd went crazy.” Again.

FA beat Riverdale 36-34, and claimed the district crown.

To beat two talented teams such as PVA and RA, the Cougars had to play as a team.

Against PVA, Roberts scored 16 points and collected six rebounds, four steals and one block.

Sam Carrington scored five points, brought in five rebounds and one steal while Addison Spradling also scored five points, had one assist and one block.

Cason Cloessner put in four points, three rebounds, one steal and one assist.

Aiden Ward had two points and was big in the paint with six rebounds.

Morgan Rollins contributed with two points, two rebounds and one steal against PVA.

Against RA, Roberts again was leading scorer with 13 points. He grabbed nine rebounds, had one steal and two assists.

Ward contributed on both sides of the court as he scored seven points, took in four rebounds, had one steal and swatted two shots.

Cloessner collected five points, two rebounds and one steal while Carrington scored four points, four rebounds and stole one ball.

Spradling also scored four points and had one rebound.

Rollins scored three points and ruled the paint with six rebounds against RA.

Before the tournament, the district champs had an “up and down” season, Winterman admitted. Throughout the season, injuries plagued the squad along with the flu bug.

“That made it even more special to come back and win the championship,” Winterman said.

Along with injuries, the jv Cougars was a young team. The team was comprised of just one freshman and two eighth graders.

“For the most part we were one of the younger teams every time we played,” Winterman said.

Luckily, age or health doesn’t matter on whether you are exciting.

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