the Franklin County Seahawks went on the road last week and took three out of four of the games, including avenging their first loss of the season against Poplar Springs.
On Saturday afternoon in Port St. Joe, it was a different story against the Atomics, as the Seahawks came away with a 69-59 win, raising their record to 8-2 and erasing the stain of a 77-70 loss to Poplar Springs at home late last month.
“That was the best we played all year so far,” said coach Ray Bailey. “We got contributions from everybody. We got contributions from everybody; we made them make their shots over us.”
Bailey lauded senior Jaidyn Rhodes “played his best game in two years. He had 10 points but his play the entire game was just good.”
Senior Owen Poloronis, who is averaging 18 points and three assists per game, hit for a season-high 29 points.
“Senior Ta’shawn Jones was the glue at the defensive end,” said Bailey.
The road trip opened Tuesday, Dec. 13 with a 56-34 win at Wakulla, a margin that might have been even larger had Bailey not rested his starters through much of the second half, after the Seahawks posted a huge lead at the half and had a running clock beginning with a 40-point bulge in the third quarter.
“We started slow but eventually we went in and handled business like we should have from the start,” said Bailey. “The younger players got a lot of minutes, they were in the whole fourth quarter.”
Poloronis led the team with 19 points, with junior Ethan Kembro hitting 11, Ta’shawn Jones eight, Rhodes seven, eighth grader Sadiq Jones six points and three steals, and sophomore Willaims Chastine three points.
Ta’shawn Jones, who is averaging 11 rebounds a game, grabbed eight, and Kembro six.
On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Seahawks lost for the second time this season, 48-36 to the Cottondale Hornets.
Without Kembro in the lineup, Franklin County fell behind 12-8 after the first quarter, and 20-13 at the half, and then a 28-13 second half spelled their doom.
“We didn’t come to play at all, we weren’t mentally there,” Bailey said. “We tried to battle back, and cut it to seven in the fourth but that’s the closest we got, in the fourth quarter.”
With two dozen turnovers and 38 percent shooting from the free throw line, the Seahawks couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities.
“We had two steals in a row, but we ended up throwing it right back to them,” said Bailey.
Poloronis led the team with 14 points, with Ta’Shawn Jones kicking in 13 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. Sadiq Jones scored five, and Rhodes and seventh grader Dre North each scored two.
The next night, Friday, also at Cottondale, the Seahawks managed a 64-59 win against Malone, after falling behind 15-13 after the first quarter. At the half they had established a 31-25 lead, and went ahead 45-37 after three stanzas. They were outscored 22-19 in the fourth quarter but held on for the five-point win.
“I am always happy to get a win but I was disappointed in our effort,” Bailey said, noting that because Malone is having a down year, “I was expecting to get the younger guys some time,” but that was not to be.
“Three games in five days all on the road, you got to be mentally tough,” he said. “We were flat the entire night, we were lucky to get away with the win.
“Ethan (Kembro) played that game but he was weak from illness,” Bailey said, noting how important the junior, who is averaging 12 points and six rebounds a game, is to the team.
“I didn’t think we would miss Ethan as much as we did,” he said.
The Seahawks close out 2022 with a home game against Bozeman Thursday, Dec. 22, and then are off until Jan. 3 at Blountstown.