In a tough-fought ballgame that came down to the wire, the Franklin County High School varsity basketball team ended its season at Vernon Feb. 20 in the regional opener.


After jumping out to a 19-11 lead after the first quarter, coach Kameron Ashbranner’s Seahawks followed with another 19-point quarter, and a 38-26 halftime lead.


But the Yellow Jackets, who had surprised Malone to win their district, outscored the Hawks 18-10 in the third to climb within four, 48-44. A hout fourth quarter, in which Vernon racked up 22 points to the Seahawks’ 16, spelled the difference, and with a 66-64 victory advanced to Tuesday’s hosting of Port St. Joe.


The Tiger Sharks had ousted Malone 54-44 in Gulf County Feb. 20, but proved no match for Vernon Tuesday, succumbing 66-57 at Vernon.


Vernon now heads to Lakeland for a March 4 match-up in the Class 1A state semis, while Paxton takes on Hawthorne in the second game. The winners tussle March 6 in the finals.


Ashabranner’s squad finished 15-8 on the year, 7-3 in the district, and were runners-up in the district tournament.