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Prentiss rides Jefferson’s 34 to upset of Franklin County

MEADVILLE – Prentiss freshman center Al Jefferson waited andthen exploded for 34 points and 30 rebounds en route to a shocking65-56 victory over senior-laden Franklin County in the first roundof the Boys South State Class 3A Tournament Tuesday night in abattle of the Bulldogs.

Jefferson, a 6-foot-8 center, waited until the last two minutesof the first quarter to become active in leading Prentiss (20-13)to a 14-9 advantage. Jefferson accounted for six of the Bulldogs 14first-quarter points in the last 1:44.

In the second quarter, Franklin’s Bulldawgs began a rally ofsorts as senior center Darrall Brown blasted Jefferson with asneaky behind-your-back dunk. Jefferson would collect 11 reboundsalone in the second for a Prentiss 26-25 halftime lead.

After a long halftime, Prentiss continued the Jefferson Showcaseas he powered over the Dawgs with overwhelming rejections andrebounds that turned into powerful dunks as the third quarter cameto a close. Prentiss led 45-36 going into the fourth and finalframe.

As the fourth quarter began, Prentiss quickly jumped to a15-point, 51-36 lead with 6:11 remaining. Franklin County (16-13)wouldn’t let down as seniors Demetrice Weathersby and Grant Rogersblasted Prentiss with numerous steals and layouts for the 53-47deficit with 3:33 left in the game.

During the last three minutes, the game’s whole outlook changedin two little plays. The first play was when Jefferson fouled with2:14 left in the frame. After several Bulldawg runs, FranklinCounty found itself within six, trailing 59-53. Then the Dawgs’crazy play came when senior shooting guard Logan Jones got atechnical for throwing the ball out of bounds, after an out ofbounds turnover.

The Dawgs seemed shell-shocked after the play that sent Jones tothe bench and the Dawgs searching for scoring answers.

Prentiss continued its powerful play during the final minute tosavor the hard fought South State quarterfinals victory.

“We did a great job tonight,” said Prentiss head coach EarnestMcElmore. “We played tremendously well in the paint due to Al’s bigpresence. We beat a very classy team tonight. Franklin Countyreally played well.”

With the win, Prentiss will next play in the South Statesemifinals against Kemper County Friday at 6:30. Kemper Countydefeated Pass Christian 75-62 Tuesday night.

“We got outplayed,” said a saddened Bulldawg coach Chris Jordan.”Bottom line, they had a good plan that worked tonight. We couldn’tstop their big man inside and they did what they had to do in orderto beat us”

Leading Prentiss to the win was Jefferson with 34 points, 30rebounds, eight blocks and three assists. Jeremy Jefferson finishedwith eight points, three rebounds and two steals.

For Franklin County, Weathersby led with 17 points, fiverebounds and four steals. Sophomore forward Anthony Wilcher netted15 points on four rebounds and three blocks. Rogers finished with13 points, four rebounds and two blocks.

With the loss, the Bulldogs ended their season. It was a seasonin which they witnessed all ups and downs from losing their seniorstandout Rod Wells in early August in a tragic car accident; towinning the Division 6-3A regular season and postseasontournaments.