Updated Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 01:31 AM
First, the good in Franklin's 93-76 win against Canyon Springs from Las Vegas: The Quakers stormed to a 12-point halftime lead, extended it to as many as 19 in the second half and stayed poised when Canyon Springs threatened with a comeback.
All of those factors led Franklin into the Tournament of Champions final against Union of Vancouver at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Yet Franklin is an experienced group, and the Quakers struggled at times in the second half on both ends of the court. Multiple times in the fourth quarter, Canyon Springs whittled Franklin's lead to five before the Quakers stabilized.
"Some would say it's good we got the win," Franklin coach Jason Kerr said. "But this is a nonleague game. We're just trying to figure out kinks and get better. To be honest, this group shouldn't have those lapses."
But behind 21 points from Patrick Ball and 18 from Tim McMillon, the Quakers (9-0) still showed why they are the state's fourth-ranked Class 3A team.
Franklin efficiently took control in the span of about 30 seconds during the second quarter.
It started with Arell Hennings, the Quakers' senior point guard, who hesitated, slipped into the lane and finished with a layup. It continued with McMillon, a senior, hitting back-to-back three-pointers, and ended, finally, with Hennings drawing a charge on the other end.
The sequence turned a four-point game into a 12-point lead.
McMillon, who is making 46 percent of his three-pointers this season, hit 6 of 11 attempts, including 5 of 8 in the first half.
Canyon Springs which won a state title a year ago, cut Franklin's 19-point lead to single digits by switching to a 1-3-1 zone and scoring in transition.
"Half of beating the opponent is scoring and the other half is stopping them," Kerr said. "And at that point we weren't doing either one."
Eugene Artison, Franklin's 6-foot-8 forward, scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half.
Hennings finished with 11 points and 12 assists and controlled the tempo.
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com