BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Coming off their first win of the season – a 77-48 triumph over Arts High School Jan. 4 – Bridgewater-Raritan looked to ride a wave of confidence and momentum at home against division rival Franklin.

But the Warriors had other plans right out of the gate on Tuesday night.

Edward Turay, who led all scorers with 23 points on 11 field goals, scored the first eight points for Franklin (5-3) in the first three minutes of regulation, and had five of his field goals in the opening period alone. While Bridgewater-Raritan (1-6) made a late push to cut into the Warriors’ lead as a result of 10 final-period points by Alec Whelan, who led the Panthers with 17 points, the early damage in transition off of forced turnovers by Franklin was too much to overcome.

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While the Panthers outscored Franklin 22-15 in the 4th quarter and had three players reach double figures on the night, the Warriors led by as many as 19 points to secure the breathing room they needed for a 61-51 victory over Bridgewater-Raritan.

With two of Turay’s four early buckets coming from down low on putbacks, Franklin’s Anthony Milligan followed suit with 4:00 left in the 1st period to give the Warriors a 10-2 lead early. The Warriors took advantage of multiple first-half opportunities in transition off of forced turnovers, racing out to a 20-10 lead after one period.

Whelan kept Bridgewater-Raritan within striking distance, scoring six of the Panthers’ 10 first-period points. He was held scoreless in the second period, when the Warriors used a 12-3 run to extend their lead to a game-high 19 points halfway into the quarter. Trailing 32-13 at this point, the Panthers ended the half on a small burst, as Bridgewater-Raritan scored five of the final seven points of the period to go into the locker room down 34-18.

Turay led the way with 15 points in the first half, as Franklin held Bridgewater-Raritan to three field goals in the 2nd quarter while putting four different scorers on the board at the other end.

This included Milligan, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half for the Warriors. A pair of long shots by Zach Letts and Joey Callari got the Panthers to within 34-23 in the first minute of the 3rd quarter, and while both teams went scoreless for roughly a minute and a half, a three-pointer by Franklin guard Tracy Brown began a burst of eight unanswered points by the Warriors in two minutes.

Leading 42-23 with 3:55 left in the 3rd quarter, Turay’s eighth field goal and a pair of free throws by Milligan put the Warriors back up by 19 points a minute and a half later, where Franklin’s lead stood just under two minutes into the 4th quarter.

But just like against Hillsborough four nights prior, Bridgewater-Raritan turned up the heat late for the second time in three games despite trailing by double digits.

Panthers guard Alvin Cheng got Bridgewater-Raritan going with a layup and a split pair of free throws after getting a stop on the next Warriors possession. However, a putback of the missed free throw by Whelan cut Franklin’s lead to 51-39 with 4:59 to go.

But a long, timely triple by Brown on the Warriors’ next possession, which was his third of the night, extended Franklin’s lead to 54-39 with 4:20 to play, and appeared to be the dagger that swung the momentum back in the road team’s favor.

A basket from down low and one by Whelan gave the Panthers the answer they needed with 3:08 remaining, but Franklin’s Demi Alao scored his biggest bucket of the night in the post at the other end. Turay then scored the last of his 23 points on a jumper on the Warriors’ next possession to cap off his big evening, giving the Warriors a 59-44 lead with 1:25 to play.

While the Panthers scored seven of the game’s final nine points in regulation, Bridgewater-Raritan’s big early deficit ended up being the difference, as the Panthers fell by a final score of 61-51.

Whelan, Cheng, and Callari each scored at least 12 points for the Panthers and combined for 41 of the team’s 51 points on the night in the defeat.

SCORING:
Franklin 61, Bridgewater-Raritan 51
Franklin: Q1- 20; Q2- 14; Q3- 12; Q4- 15; TOTAL- 61

  • Edward Turay - 23 points
  • Anthony Milligan - 14 points
  • Tracy Brown - 11 points
  • Joshua Kuroda-Grauer - 6 points
  • Demi Alao - 4 points
  • Isaiah Cotton - 3 points

Bridgewater-Raritan: Q1- 10; Q2- 8; Q3- 11; Q4- 22; TOTAL- 51

  • Alec Whelan - 17 points
  • Joey Callari - 12 points
  • Alvin Cheng - 12 points
  • Brandyn Vaughn - 5 points
  • Zach Letts - 3 points
  • Mickey Wasko - 2 points

NEXT UP:
Bridgewater-Raritan will return home against Phillipsburg. Tip against the Stateliners will be at 7 p.m. at Bridgewater-Raritan High School Jan. 9.

On Jan. 11th, 2020 at 10:30am, the Panthers will return to Montgomery High School for the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, where they will take on Voorhees High School to round out the first full week of the New Year.
For detailed Bridgewater-Raritan Panthers Athletics schedules and game locations, please see https://bridgewaterraritanhighschool.bigteams.com/.
By James Olivola. Follow him on Twitter (@MrOlivola) for live updates during game days and all things related to Bridgewater-Raritan Panther Athletics. Like The BReeze on Facebook and follow The BReeze on Twitter (@TheBReezeTAP).