Luke Kennard proved why he is commonly called the top junior in the nation as he poured in 45 points to lead Franklin (OH) into the quarterfinals of the Beach Ball Classic with a 71-57 victory over Mullins (SC). Kennard, who tied Mike Bibby’s second best Beach Ball Classic effort for the second best single scoring game in tournament history, fell just short of Bibby’s record of 48 when he led his Shadow Mountain (AZ) squad over Eau Claire (SC) on December 30, 1995.
Franklin (7-0) never trailed in the game and built a 21 point lead early in the second half. Trailing 46-25 with 14:27 remaining in the second half, Mullins’ Alex Brown put the Auctioneers on his back. Brown scored 17 points, including four 3-point baskets in a 1:20 stretch, during a 21-5 run by Mullins to cut the lead to just five points at 51-46 with 9:24 to play.
During this stretch, Kennard was whistled for three fouls with the final one being his fourth that sent him to the bench with 11:54 remaining. Following the short jumper by Jalek Felton to cut the lead to five points, Kennard was called back in to duty. From that point to the end of the game, Kennard played a part in 19 of the 20 points scored by the Wildcats. He tallied 15 points and had a pair of assists in the final 9:04.
Brown kept Mullins in the game as he finished with a team-high 33 points. Felton, tabbed as the top freshman in the nation, posted 11 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and six steals.