Overton comes through
Special to The Seattle Times
TACOMA — On Friday night, Venoy Overton went to Franklin's bench after fouling out with 7 minutes, 53 seconds left in a tight semifinal.
The Quakers' leading scorer could only play cheerleader the rest of the way as his team pulled off a stunning comeback against Curtis.
Late that night, he promised his teammates that he would come through for them in the championship game.
Saturday night, Overton delivered.
The 6-foot junior guard scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Quakers to a 70-51 win over Central Valley of Spokane, earning Franklin its second Class 4A state boys baskeball title in four years.
On this night, Overton wore a huge smile when went to the bench for the final time with 2:35 left.
"This feels real good," said Overton, Franklin's leading scorer. "I told my team I was going to be there for them tonight and not going to be in foul trouble."
His teammates never doubted him.
"That's Venoy Overton for you," said freshman guard Peyton Siva. "He steps up in big games. Yesterday, he got into foul trouble and we had to pick it up for him. Today, he came through just like I expected him to. He stepped up and stepped up big.
"Man, I love that guy, he's like my brother."
By halftime, Overton had eight points and the Quakers owned a 12-point lead.
In this game, it was Overton's turn to lead the Franklin guards, who have taken turns this season picking up the slack when a teammate is in foul trouble, injured or just struggling to make shots.
And while Overton was hitting shots, senior Donnie Cheatham was busy setting him up.
"I said, 'Keep moving and I'm going to get you the ball.' And I got it to him," said Cheatham, who led Franklin with four assists. "He said, 'Donnie, keep finding me, man.' And I just kept feeding him the ball."
After the game, Overton found Franklin coach Jason Kerr and gave him a hug.
"He responded the same way we expected him to," said Kerr. "Yesterday, he worked and cheered on his teammates, knowing that other people can get it done, and today he was right back at it again going to work and doing his job."
Even as the Quakers were celebrating, Overton couldn't help but look ahead.
While the seniors took their turns with the trophy, Overton, Siva, Robert Dampier, Johnnie Stroud, Jody Johnson and Chris Holmes huddled together and declared their intentions for a repeat title.
"Next year we're going to try to win it again," said Overton. "We've got some good people coming back. We'll be ready."
The last Franklin team to win back-to-back titles? The 1994, 1995 teams, led by a guard named Jason Terry.
Not bad company, but Overton's not ready to put himself in that discussion yet.
"I don't know about that," he said. "I'm just happy to have won a state championship right now. I'm just worried about today right now, and tomorrow is tomorrow."
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company