Hosting its first playoff game in school history, Franklin Heights put in a memorable performance in a 60-36 win over Mount Vernon in the first round of sectional play. Behind the scoring of seniors Akiean Frederick and Jonathan Tinker, the Falcons used a 9-0 run to set the tone in a blowout victory over the visiting Yellow Jackets.
As the senior center Frederick led all scorers with 23 points, in addition to eight rebounds, Franklin Heights put in arguably its best performance of the season on Saturday. Tinker added 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals to help the Falcons establish swarming pressure on the defensive end, using its patented halfcourt trap to force 14 steals.
Leading 17-4 after the first quarter, Franklin Heights took several blows from Mount Vernon, but responded each time to head into halftime leading 26-14. As junior Mount Vernon combo-guard Alex Arck hit a three to cut the Falcon lead to 37-26 at the end of three, the Jackets looked to be in a great position to make a fourth quarter run.
Nearly identical to the first quarter, Franklin Heights opened up the fourth on a 10-0 run, extending the Falcon lead to 46-27 with 4:20 to go. Frederick and Tinker would push the tempo for the Falcons in the fourth, highlighted by a powerful two-handed jam by Frederick to push the Falcon lead to 55-30 with 2:45 remaining.
Arck would score five consecutive points for the Jackets late, but Mount Vernon just did not have enough consistency for the entirety of the game, falling to the Falcons, 60-36.
Outside of Frederick and Tinker, Franklin Heights junior guard Josh Williams added seven points, while Tinker's twin brother Jon Tinker put in one of his best performances of the year, going for six points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals. Williams, both Tinker brothers, and senior Falcon guard Kyle Tope were crucial on the defensive end for Heights, making quick rotations and stepping in passing lanes to disrupt the flow of the Mount Vernon offense.
For Mount Vernon, Arck led all scorers with 15 points, while sophomore reserve guard Justin Springer added six points off the bench. Outside of Arck and Springer, no other Jacket scored more than five points on Saturday. Giving up a size and athleticism advantage to the Falcons, Mount Vernon was outrebounded 26-14, a development in Saturday's game that led to an array of second-chance opportunities for Franklin Heights.
With the win, Franklin Heights improves to 13-10, and advances to play at Grove City on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Falling to the Greyhounds 72-67 on Dec. 27, Franklin Heights will need to play as efficiently as they did on Saturday to pull out an upset victory on the road.
As six Franklin Heights seniors played their final game at home on Saturday, the Falcons went out in style with a major playoff victory for a team that is the area's most improved from a season ago.