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Originally published Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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King Holiday Hoopfest | Carter's basket rescues Franklin

Franklin junior Peyton Siva rushed up the court as the seconds faded away, needing only a basket for a win. He stumbled at midcourt, and...

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Franklin junior Peyton Siva rushed up the court as the seconds faded away, needing only a basket for a win. He stumbled at midcourt, and as he fought to regain his footing, he kept barreling toward the basket like a runaway train.

Two, then three, then four defenders from Fairfax surrounded him. With nowhere to go, Siva wildly threw up a three-pointer. As he did, he couldn't see anything but a wall of defenders and the rim he would badly miss.

He definitely didn't see teammate Sterling Carter. But Carter cut toward the hoop, untouched and unseen, and leapt for the last-second putback that gave Franklin a 56-55 victory Monday at Edmundson Pavilion in the King Holiday Hoopfest.

"I was right there, and it came right to me," Carter said.

Carter's putback, only Franklin's fourth field goal of the second half, allowed Franklin to escape with a win after losing a 16-point halftime lead to the Los Angeles school and its touted center, Renardo Sidney.

"We just had to kind of grind it out down the stretch," Franklin coach Jason Kerr said. "We were really hanging on for dear life."

The largest crowd of the day, estimated at 3,750, watched Sidney, the nation's top-ranked junior boys basketball player, go against one of Seattle's best teams.

At the opening tip-off, the 6-foot-10 Sidney lined up across from Siva, 6-foot-1 in high-tops. Siva didn't even attempt to leap for the tip and ran back on defense. That would be Franklin's strategy for the afternoon: make up for its lack of size with hustle.

"We've got heart, and we're not afraid of anybody," Siva said.

The Quakers didn't stop Sidney; the center had 24 points and 22 rebounds. But with a combination of Keiwaun McMorris and Jesse Hopson, reserve forwards who played their largest roles of the season, the Quakers tried their best to disrupt Sidney's timing and deny him the ball.

"We just wanted to make him have to really work for it," Kerr said.

Franklin took a 36-20 lead into halftime, capitalizing on seven Fairfax turnovers and shooting 41 percent. But early in the third quarter, the Quakers lost their touch as the Fairfax shooters found theirs. An 11-point Fairfax run to start the third made it a game again.

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"The letdown to begin the third quarter was a little disappointing, but at least it made it more interesting for the fans," said Kerr, who spoke with Louisville coach Rick Pitino outside the locker room after the game.

Louisville is one of the top four schools being considered by Siva, who made up for an off night from the field by making 14 of 17 free throws. Franklin scored 12 of its 20 second-half points at the line, after fouls Fairfax coach Harvey Kitani said were "questionable touch fouls."

Siva scored seven of his 23 points in the last three minutes, including a fast-break layup off a steal that put Frankin ahead 54-53 with 55 seconds left. Then his desperation three-pointer, which initially looked like it could head only for trouble, led to Carter's winning basket.

"It's a game of runs," Siva said, "and we made the last run."

Tom Wyrwich: 206-515-5653 or twyrwich@seattletimes.com

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