The Player Perspective: FHS Boys Basketball Relies on Intense Defense and Strong Coaching through 6-0 Start

FHS Basketballs Ben Harvey (#3) and Justin Allen (#5) look over to the bench in their most recent win against Framingham.

FHS Smugmug

FHS Basketball’s Ben Harvey (#3) and Justin Allen (#5) look over to the bench in their most recent win against Framingham.

Ryan Martin, Writer

6 games, 6 wins. FHS Boys Basketball is back in action this winter and has come out firing on all cylinders, remaining undefeated through the first quarter of their season. With a much younger team this year than years past, regression by Franklin was certainly possible; but so far this season, Franklin has dispelled all such rumors, sitting atop the Kelley-Rex division as they enter a tough stretch of games. To dig deeper into the boys, I caught up with FHS Boys Basketball’s Justin Allen (Jr.) and Ben Harvey (Jr.):

Ryan Martin: You guys are off to a 6-0 start, including recent tournament wins against Worcester north and Framingham to win the holiday hoopla tournament. With so many guys new to the varsity level, how have you guys been able to gel or play so well together through the first month of the season? How important were those two tourney wins to show this Franklin team plays best when it matters most?

Justin Allen: We have played so well together because everyone on the team likes each other. Personally, I think we have excellent chemistry and a lot of guys who want to win badly and work hard. We have a good amount of experience playing with one another; we have a nice balance of different ages including 3 seniors, 4 juniors, 6 sophomores, and a freshman. We also played in a couple offseason tournaments together and competed in a mass premier summer league which was played throughout the summer months. These two tournament wins over Worcester North and Framingham really show that we can play with anybody. Worcester North plays a much different style than many teams we would typically see and Framingham had a couple of really good players. We showed great composure and toughness to get two hard-fought wins over our winter break.

Justin Allen (#5) dribbles the ball up for Franklin in their most recent win against Framingham

Ben Harvey: The biggest thing that’s gotten us to these wins has been the coaching staff around us. our coaches do all the behind-the-scenes work every day to set us up for success. We’ve gotten all of the wins we have by buying into what the coaches are telling us. The wins we got in the tourney showed all of us our true potential and that if we buy into the systems this team can do special things.


RM: This season, Franklin is back to a typical season of about 25 games before playoffs. Coming off a weird 11 game season last year because of COVID, how exciting is it to be back to a normal schedule, and with spectators back how awesome is it to play in front of Rattle City?

JA: It’s really exciting, we get to play more basketball which is obviously the most exciting part, but also, growing connections with your teammates and making friendships that will expand outside of basketball. Playing in front of Rattle City is electric, seeing our friends and classmates come out to support our team is just incredible. When the crowd gets into it and we are knocking down shots and getting stops on the defensive end, there’s absolutely nothing like it.

BH: Being back to a normal schedule is amazing as we get to see some of those out of league teams that we didn’t get to see last year. But playing in front of the crowds we have is very special. Growing up and being a part of the crowds, watching my brother play to now being able to look up at the track and around me to see everyone coming to watch the tam play makes us play with much more energy.


RM: Speaking of differences this season, varsity this year has a very young squad. Being an upperclassmen on such a sophomore dominated team how have you two taken on more of a leadership role with this team? 

JA: Stepping up into more of a leadership role this season was something that guys like Harvey and I saw coming. I think it’s fair to say that Harvey and I were both leaders on the freshman team two years back and Harvey has always been a great leader. Regardless of the situation, Harvey is always the right guy to be taking charge. I think both of us our great fits to take on a larger leadership role to help our teammates hopefully follow in the same steps as us in the following years.

BH: For Justin and I, being 2 of 8 returning varsity players in a really tough year like we’re in right now, we do our best to stay positive. With such a young team, we know we’re going to have to stick together and pick each other up game after game. For many guys, this is their first varsity experience. So for us as leaders, we’re just trying to do similar things that those before us did to make sure our young guys can be successful as well.


RM: Going off that, as upperclassmen on this team now,  How cool is it to see younger guys like Henry DiGiorgio and Sean O’Leary start coming into their own and begin to contribute?

JA: Seeing guys like Hank (DiGiorgio) and O’Leary step up and become stars from the first day of tryouts is honestly remarkable. In such a competitive environment, these two guys stepped up and have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are and have earned every bit of credit they get. Playing with both of these guys makes everything a lot easier due to their ability to do everything. I’m really excited for both of these guys and can’t wait to see how much better they get everyday.

Ben Harvey (#3) looks to inbound the ball against Framingham

BH: For Hank and Sean, we’ve seen their potential since even before the season started. We knew they were going to be getting a lot of spotlight throughout the year based on the work they put in during the offseason. That being said, everyone on the team has been contributing in their own way. The special thing about this group of guys is that we all know our role. From top to bottom, we have guys putting in so much effort in practice; it shows how really unselfish all of us are regardless of age. 


RM: Lastly, you guys are off the next couple days, but have a tough stretch of away games coming up, first at Taunton against the tigers and one of the league’s leading scorers in Trent Santos, then at North Attleboro and then at undefeated Mansfield, who’s right up their with Taunton and yourselves at the top of the division. What aspects of Franklin basketball will really need to shine over the next three games to see you guys stay undefeated and pull ahead in the standings?

JA: At Franklin, we pride ourselves on the defensive end, so getting stops is going to be the top priority. After that execution of plays, communication, and playing with confidence and playing like ourselves with help us go 3-0 in these next 3 games and pull ahead in the standings.

BH: Franklin Basketball has always prided ourselves on defense. It’s been our staple forever, If we want to continue to win we need to keep up the intensity on the defensive end of the court. If we’re able to get stops on defense they will quickly transition to offensive buckets. Other than that, we just need to stay positive. Some days the ball just won’t go into the hoop. We just have to stay confident and pick one another up. Continuing to believe in one another’s abilities to go out there and make the right plays will be key.

Although scheduled to play Taunton this last Friday, Friday’s snowstorms had other plans, postponing what would’ve seemed to be Franklin’s biggest matchup this year to later this season. This Tuesday, Franklin will apply that tough defense and positive mindset to their next matchup at North Attleboro.