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Ulyen Coleman rises up for the GW three-pointer in last year's CM-Franklin game (Matt Feld, Suite Sports)

Ulyen Coleman rises up for the GW three-pointer in last year's CM-Franklin game (Matt Feld, Suite Sports)

Joe Clark, Sports Editor

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If tonight’s Franklin-Catholic Memorial matchup is anything like the past two years, then fans will be in for a treat. Two years ago, the Panthers stunned then #1 Catholic Memorial at the Franklin High School gymnasium, pulling off a 92-86 win. Last season, Franklin played a great game against the Knights, but Ulyen Coleman’s three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left gave CM a 58-57 win. While CM graduated Coleman and Mike Giacobbe (12 points, 10 rebounds against Franklin last year), they return Will McDonnell (15 points, including four three-pointers in the third quarter last year), in addition to Jarrett Martin, Jarron Flynn, and maybe most importantly, Kani Glover who’s looking to have a big year for the Knights this year. So far this year, CM is 3-2, with wins over Wachusett, West Roxbury, and Lexington, with losses to Bishop Stang in OT and Newton North.

Franklin also returns much of their core from last year’s team, as Paul Mahon, Matt Elias, Jalen Samuels, Chris Edgehill, and Jack Rodgers all return. Last year, Samuels was big in the win for Franklin, as he finished with 13 points. Last year, Franklin played stifling defense on Ulyen Coleman, as he was held to just two points through the first three and a half quarters, and expect the Panthers to play a similarly active style of defense tonight on McDonnell and Glover. This season, Franklin has looked good at 4-1, with wins over Milford, North Attleboro, Malden Catholic, and Arlington, with their only loss a 54-52 upset at Foxboro. CM will be Franklin’s last game before they begin Kelley-Rex play, which kicks off Friday in Easton for a tilt with Oliver Ames. While it’s a small sample size, Franklin’s defensive effort this season has been superb (as it has been in recent years), as they lead the Hockomock League in OPPG, as they allow their opponents just 40 PPG on average. Alex Klowan also returns tonight for Franklin, and his presence should bolster a Franklin frontcourt that lost Connor Peterson and Josh Macchi from last year’s team. To win this one, Franklin will need to prevent McDonnell from getting open looks behind the arc, as he’s the best three-point shooter on the Knights roster. If Franklin continues to lock down on defense as they have all year, they should be in line to pick up a big non-league win over the Knights.

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