Thus far for the 2019-20 season, the New Franklin boys basketball team has been perfect in 13 games.
But could they make it 14 Tuesday night on the road against the upset-minded Pilot Grove Tigers?
Although the two teams have battled back and forth over the years, the Bulldogs picked up a big win nonetheless by beating the Tigers 62-42.
As for the New Franklin girls, they also notched a big win by beating Pilot Grove 47-41.
The New Franklin boys, 14-0 overall and 4-0 in the Central Activities Conference, scored just enough in each quarter to lead the Tigers from the opening tip. The Bulldogs led 18-12 after one, 31-22 at the half and 45-27 after three quarters of play. Meanwhile, in the final period, New Franklin outscored Pilot Grove 17-15 to win the game by 20.
New Franklin coach Ross Dobson said another tough road conference game against another solid opponent. “We were able to string together plays in the third and fourth to help us extend our lead,” Dobson said. “We now turn our focus to our next conference game and we will need to concentrated on the task at hand.”
Tyler Perkins led three players in double figures for New Franklin with 29 points. Gavin Bishop chipped in 14 while Tre Cowans added 12, Tysen Dowell five and Crayton Gallatin with two.
For Pilot Grove, who dropped to 3-8 overall and 0-4 in the conference, Cole Meisenheimer had 12, Bailey Quint 10, Kealin Vinson six, Hayden Krumm and Dade Christy each with five and Seth Blumhorst with four.
Pilot Grove coach Derek Skaggs said the Tigers faced another conference opponent that is really solid in many facets of the game.
“We fought right along with them for two quarters,” Skaggs said. “Then they showed everyone why they are sitting at 14-0  by outscoring us 14-5 in the third quarter. I felt we competed at times, but we have some moments where we need to will the ball into the bucket. A couple of moments taking care of the ball and scoring opportunities is the difference between competing all game or playing to a level beneath them. We couldn’t finish those moments. I know that our guys will continue to battle every night and find a way to change our mid season luck.”
As for the New Franklin girls, they got a much needed win after back to back losses against Glasgow and Community R-6.
While improving to 7-7 overall and 1-3 in the conference, the Lady Bulldogs got off to a slow start against Pilot Grove while trailing 10-6 after first period’s end. However, in the second quarter, New Franklin outscored Pilot Grove 18-7 to lead at the break by a score of 24-17. The Lady Bulldogs never trailed after that by outscoring Pilot Grove 24-23 in the second half for the win.
New Franklin coach Morgan Vetter said this was a great win for the girls on the road, especially a conference game. “I thought the girls finished strong in picking up a win and showed toughness throughout,” Vetter said.
Faith Painter had 11 points to lead all scorers for New Franklin. Kristen Flick chipped in 10 while Addy Salmon added eight, Abby Maupin seven, Carly Dorson five, Madelyn Chaney four and Campbell Cooper with two.
The Lady Bulldogs also finished the game, hitting 19 of 42 shots from the foul line for 45 percent.
As for the Pilot Grove girls, who dropped to 3-8 overall and 2-1 in the conference, Grace Phillips had nine points. Natalie Rentel chipped in eight while Danae Lammers added six, Abby Schupp, Reagan McFatrich and Leah Vollrath each with five and Marci Lammers with three.
Pilot Grove coach Linda Scott said the girls just could not rebound and missed too many free throws.
“I thought we played hard on defense, but just allowed them too many second and third chance shots,” Scott said. “We had a huge come back in the fourth period, but could not hit a shot at the last minute. We had to play without Natalie Glenn due to illness. However, this game taught us a lesson in rebounds and speed tonight. We have to be able to come out to win each quarter and the game. We battled but must cut down on little mistakes to win.”
Pilot Grove was just 9 of 21 from the foul line for 43 percent.