POMONA — The West Franklin High School boys basketball team is starting to figure out how to be successful in close games.
The Falcons found another gear in the fourth quarter of a back-and-forth battle with Council Grove Tuesday in Pomona.
West Franklin’s 12-0 spurt spurred the Falcons to a 63-60 come-from-behind victory.
“We had to fight through adversity,” West Franklin coach James Spencer said. “We got down seven in the fourth. We did not lose our composure.
“Owen Reed stepped up huge and knocked down some shots we needed. Mitch Walters and Clay Altic made hustle plays ... they are the ones that don’t show up on the stat sheet. We lost two games where we had a chance. We did not execute down the stretch like we did tonight. That is a sign of us improving.”
Both teams saw big leads get away. Council Grove led by nine in the first quarter. West Franklin rallied back and led by 11 at point in the second quarter.
Council Grove put up 26 points on the board in the third quarter to take a 50-46 lead and increased the lead to 55-48 with just under five minutes left in the game.
“Defensively, we can’t give up 60 points,” Spencer said. “We have to get better defensively. Our goal is to under them under 40. We are not close yet.
“The first and third quarters really killed us.”
West Franklin turned the momentum as Reed buried two treys to start the big run in the fourth quarter. The senior finished with 21 points.
Duda hit four free throws to give the Falcons a 60-55 lead with 49 seconds left. Altic’s bucket made it 62-57 with 25 seconds left.
Council Grove buried a trey to come within 62-60 with 12 seconds left.
West Franklin’s Brady Geist, who had 18 points, hit one of two free throws with eight seconds remaining for a three-point lead.
Council Grove did not get off a good shot at the buzzer.
“We’ve got three seniors on the court [for most of the time],” Spencer said. “Will Duda knocked down some free throws. That is a sign we are confident.”
Spencer saw signs of growth with the Falcons answering the Braves’ runs.
“In the past when teams went on a run, we would fade away,” Spencer said.” We are at the point now, we don’t settle for outside shots to get back in the game. We attack. We hit some and they were good shots.”
Rebounding has been an issue this season for the Falcons and Council Grove took advantage of it at times.
“That has lost us two games this year,” Spencer said. “It is something that will come around. Toward the end, we had the attitude we were going to get the ball.”
West Franklin and Council Grove battled each other from start to finish.
“They play real hard,” Spencer said. “It was a good test for us. In the league, everybody knows each other. You know the tendencies. It comes down to how well you execute.
“We have We have a lot of work to do. We have to keep battling every night.”
Matt Gray and Duda finished with 10 points each.
West Franklin (3-2, 2-0) plays Friday at Herington.
Council Grove (60) — Leydig 20, Bachura 15, Shirley 10, Pollock 11, Evans 4.
West Franklin (63) — Geist 18, Walters 2, Gray 10, Duda 10, Reed 21, Altic 2.