RICHMOND — Franklin County was overdue for some good luck in a close game in the boys' 11th Region basketball tournament.
The Flyers suffered heart-breaking losses in the first round the past three years — by one point to Madison Central last March, by one point to Henry Clay in 2010, and by two points to Lafayette in 2009.
Thursday night, they finally got to walk off the court smiling after escaping with a 50-48 victory over Madison Southern in EKU's McBrayer Arena.
"We found a way to win, that's the most important thing," said relieved Franklin County senior Eric Meyer.
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The Flyers trailed 48-46 with two minutes left, but they tied it on Chris Roberts' rebound basket. After Madison Southern misfired on a three-pointer, Franklin County wound down the clock before Meyer drove into the lane and dished off to Roberts, who hit a layup to put his team ahead 50-48 with 19 seconds left.
Madison Southern's Damien Harris couldn't convert a driving layup that would have tied it, and the Flyers' Casey Tabor was fouled with five seconds to go.
Tabor missed the front end of the bonus, giving the Eagles one last chance, but they made a turnover before they could get off a shot.
It was a devastating loss for Madison Southern, which has never won a region game in the school's 24-year history. It is 0-13 in the first round.
Franklin County Coach Scott Chalk, meanwhile, got his first region victory, including his days at Frankfort. And he got it even though the Flyers failed to score in the second quarter when they missed 11 shots and made five turnovers.
Chalk said the goose egg didn't bother his team.
"Nothing can happen to us that we haven't been through already this year, with all the ups and downs, the schedule we've played, the injuries. Nothing shakes us up too much."
Ryan Timmons, the Flyers' speedy junior guard, sparked the second-half comeback. He finished with 14 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Roberts, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Meyer had 10 points and five rebounds.
Junior Tyler Abshear led Madison Southern with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists. Chris Roberts added 11 points.
Chalk was pleased with his team's defense — "We held them in the 40s and you can't do much better than that."
The Flyers sputtered on offense, but so what? They won a region game for the first time since 1999, and they weren't about to complain about how they got it.
MADISON SOUTHERN (10-20) — Abshear 5-16 2-2 12, Stone 2-3 1-1 5, McGuire 3-6 0-0 6, Roberts 4-11 0-0 11, Harris 3-5 2-5 8, Rothermel 2-6 0-0 6. Totals 19-48 5-8 48.
FRANKLIN COUNTY (17-15) — Roberts 6-8 0-0 12, Timmons 7-14 0-0 14, Tabor 3-10 0-1 8, Hamilton 3-9 0-0 6, Meyer 4-9 0-0 10, Rowe 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 23-53 0-1 50.
Madison Southern 14 10 15 9—48
Franklin County 21 0 14 15—50