The Russellville High School boys’ basketball team played in front of a capacity crowd on Friday night in the championship game of the District 13 Tournament, but came up just short in the end, losing 78-73 to Franklin-Simpson.
Fans had to be turned away at the gate as RHS’s Jim Young Gymnasium was completely filled, but those that got inside to see the game were not disappointed as two of the top teams in the state battled back and forth all evening before the Wildcats held on to claim the victory in the end.
Heading into the fourth and decisive quarter, Russellville held a slim 52-50 lead, but Franklin-Simpson got hot and was able to take control and lead by 11 with around three minutes left in the game.
The Panthers didn’t go away, however and closed to within a point of Franklin-Simpson two minutes later, but the Wildcats held on down the stretch and were able to claim the district title.
Russellville had four players finish in double figures in scoring with Pedro Bradshaw leading the way with 17 points. Jacob Naylor added 16, Jason Mitchell scored 15 and Paul Jones contributed 10.
Both teams advanced to the Fourth Region Tournament, which will be played this week at Western Kentucky University’s E.A. Diddle Arena. Russellville (18-7 overall) will take on 16th district champ Russell County in the first round on Wednesday, March 2 at 8 p.m.
Franklin-Simpson will play District 14 runner-up Warren Central on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
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