It was an unconventional move, but Garfield boys basketball coach Ed Haskins didn’t have a lot to lose.
Trailing Franklin by 10 points after the first quarter, Haskins deployed a zone defense in an attempt to slow down the Quakers. The immediate result was an 8-0 run by his Bulldogs, and 4A No. 2 Garfield pulled away in the second half for a 73-57 win over 3A No. 7 Franklin in the Unity in the Community Hoop Showcase at Garfield High School on Monday.
Despite Franklin (11-4) having a serious size advantage, and zones typically making it harder to rebound for the defense, Haskins wanted to try to slow down the Quakers’ dribble penetration. The strategy worked, and Garfield (14-0) ran a zone for most of the final three quarters.
The result surprised Haskins more than anyone.
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“I’ve never played that much zone in a game in my life, but it worked,” Haskins said. “Just like my mom used to tell me: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ ”
Garfield erased a 24-14 deficit with the run early in the second quarter, trailed by just three at halftime and eventually grabbed the lead in the third, but it wasn’t until the fourth when it put the game out of reach.
Jashaun Agosto hit a three-pointer with 6:40 left in the game to cap a 9-2 run that gave the Bulldogs a 61-47 lead. The advantage would never dip below nine points the rest of the way.
Franklin was without leading scorer Keith Smith for most of the second half. Smith, averaging more than 20 points per game, picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter and was forced to the bench. The result wasn’t much better when the sophomore checked back in, as Smith was whistled for his fifth foul just 13 seconds into the final quarter.
Eugene Artison tried to keep the Quakers in the game with six points early in the fourth, but got little help as Franklin managed just 12 total points in the quarter.
Artison finished with a team-high 18 points and Smith added 14 in limited time.
Tramaine Isabell scored 27 points for Garfield, while Deeshawn Tucker added 13 and Agosto had 12.