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Franklin Comes up Just Short in PIAA 3A Title Game Powered by Campbell Bus Lines

Franklin's Cole Buckley fights for a loose ball during the PIAA Class 3A championship game against Devon Prep at the GIANT Center. Photo by Paul Burdick.

HERSHEY, Pa. – Just short of the ultimate prize.

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Franklin battled District 12 champion Devon Prep from start to finish but ultimately came out on the short end of a 60-56 decision in the PIAA Class 3A championship game at the GIANT Center.


“The journey itself I feel like is undervalued at this point but it will come as we age and we recognize and look back and realize how much we really did accomplish,” said Franklin senior Damon Curry.

See Curry’s full interview:

It was Curry, a 1,000-point career scorer who has put together one of the most decorated basketball careers at Franklin in recent memory, who had two looks to tie the game with the Knights (24-6) trailing 55-52 with a minute to play.

Curry’s first shot was just off, but the Knights got the offense rebound and another look, but that one rattled out as well and Devon Prep’s Shane Doyle was able to coral the rebound.

“Down three, Dame got a good look, elevated, looked good but just a little short,” said Franklin coach Jason Fulmer. “We got a rebound back, bounced out, and it’s one of those one’s where you go no way, not two in a row. Got a good look to tie it up but it just didn’t go. But they fought. They fought and clawed and that’s what’s special about these guys, there’s no quit in them. We’re down eight, 10 in the first quarter and then down nine in the fourth. They fought and had an opportunity. You can’t hang your head. We battled. We gave them our best punch. We might not have shot great, but we went out and competed. “


See Fulmer’s full interview:

Franklin was down 50-42 in the fourth quarter after a Zac Orchard 3-pointer for Devon Prep (15-13) with 5:57 to play, but rallied to tie the game 50-50 on a Cole Buckley 3-point play with 3:27 to go.

Orchard responded with another 3-pointer and Reece Craft knocked down a a pair of shots from the charity stripe to make it 55-50.

Even after Devon Prep got the lead to 58-53 with 28.3 second to go, Franklin still had a chance.

The Knights came up with a steal, but through the ball away themselves and Doyle found himself back at the line, where he made it 59-53 after knocking down 1-of-2.

Franklin got back within three, 59-56 on a Damarco Payne 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds to play, but Doyle was once again fouled and hit his first free-throw, clinching the state title for the Tide.

“ I didn’t feel like we shot very well behind the arc tonight, and then free throws down the stretch, that was a hard pill to swallow,” Fulmer said. “We’re good at that, that’s who we are. We finish down the stretch, we hit foul shots and we shoot the 3-ball at a pretty high rate. A little bit of frustration, but that’s a state title game. No background, different arena, it affected us.”

Franklin’s Damarco Payne looks for a lane to drive during the PIAA Class 3A title game against Devon Prep. Photo by Paul Burdick.

Franklin found itself down 10-2 just over five minutes into the game but got back to within three, 14-11 after the first quarter.


A Jalen Wood drive to the basket late in the first started a 9-0 run, punctuated by back-to-back buckets from Buckley that gave Franklin an 18-14 lead.

At one point, Buckley scored nine-straight points for Franklin, and his 3-pointer gave them a 21-16 lead, which was their largest of the game, with 3:51 to go before halftime.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Doyle gave Devon Prep the lead back, 25-24 at halftime.

It was punch, counter-punch in the third quarter. A 3-point play from Zane Conlon gave the Tide a 36-29, as they started the second half on a 11-5 run.

Wood responded with a 3-pointer, but the Tide closed the third on an 8-0 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Conoln and Orchard to make it 46-37.

Franklin never quit, however.

“Last year at this time we took a tough hit at Penn Cambria and I said hey, we’re taking a month off, we’re getting away,” Fulmersaid. “It didn’t happen. Guys were calling and asking about opening the gym. That just speaks volumes about them. It’s a loss tonight, but it’s a really huge character builder.”

Conlon led the way for Devon Prep with 20 points, one of four Tide in double figures, as Doyle had 15 and Craft (also had 14 rebounds) and Orchard 11 each.

Buckley led Franklin with 20 points, while Wood had 16 and Damarco Payne 12. Curry dished out five assists.

Franklin’s Jalen Wood brings the ball up the floor during Saturday’s PIAA Class 3A title game against Devon Prep. Photo by Paul Burdick.

Devon Prep shot 45.2% (19-of-42) from the field, while Franklin was 37.3% (19-of-51). Both teams left some points at the line, as Devon Prep was 14-of-21 (66.7%) and Franklin 13-of-20 (65%).

“There were a few wet eyes,” Fulmer said. These guys have had a long time, eight seniors. They’re really my kids. That’s what it comes down to. They are do dedicated, basketball-oriented, just every day.”

And, despite falling short of the ultimate goal, Fulmer knows what it meant for the program to get to Hershey.

“It’s big, it’s big for the program,” Fulmer said. “It’s very important to the program. It’s not easy to get here. There’s more than just a medal involved. It feeds the program. Franklin is a hoop town, a basketball school and it’s good to stay that way.”



Score by Quarters

Devon Prep 14 11 21 14 – 60
Franklin 11 13 13 19 – 56


Shane Doyle 4-9 5-8 15, Reece Craft 3-9 5-6 11, Zachary Orchard 4-5 0-2 11, Zane Conoln 7-12 4-5 20, Mike Pergolis 0-4 0-0 0, Ayinde McLendon 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Bostello 0-1 0-0 0, Cooper Fairlamb 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 19-42 14-21 60


Damarco Payne 4-9 5-8 15, Cole Buckley 8-15 2-3 20, Jalen Wood 5-11 5-6 16, Dreyden Payne 1-1 1-2 3, Damon Curry 2-16 0-0 5, Will Findlan 0-2 0-0 0, Gavin Eakin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-51 13-20 56

Three-pointers: Devon Prep 8-19 (Doyle 2-6, Craft 0-1, Orchard 3-4, Conlon 2-4, Pergolis 0-3, Fairlamb 1-1). Franklin 5-20 (Da. Payne 1-3, Buckley 2-4, Wood 1-5, Curry 1-8).

Rebounds: Devon Prep 30 (Craft 14, Conlon 8). Franklin 26 (Buckley, Wood, Dr. Payne, Curry 5)

Assists: Devon Prep 14 (Doyle 4, Craft, Fairlamb 3). Franklin 8 (Curry 5)

Steals: Devon Prep 4 (Orchard 2). Franklin 8 (Da. Payne, Wood, Dr. Payne 2)


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