H.S. Hoop: Franklin Tech’s Garret Cole made a leap en route to Recorder-area scoring title

  • Franklin Tech’s Garret Cole (25) puts up a shot defended by Old Colony’s Kraig Pratt (21) and Jarrett Taylor (20) during the State Vocational Tournament in Turners Falls earlier this season. Cole’s 18.0 point per game average was tops in the Recorder area on the boys side. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Garret Cole, right, drives to the hoop against Hampden Charter defender William Abange during a regular season game in Turners Falls this year. Cole’s 18.0 point per game average was tops in the Recorder-area on the boys side. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Garret Cole (25) blocks a shot attempt from Turners Falls’ Ryan Duclos (20) in the first quarter Thursday night in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Garret Cole hits the game winning free throw against Hampden Charter at the end of the fourth quarter of a regular-season game in Turners Falls. Cole led the Recorder area in scoring at 18 points per game. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Garret Cole (25) drives to the hoop over Old Colony defenders Kraig Pratt (21) and Ethan Keller, back, in the second half Thursday night in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Garret Cole puts in a layup against Old Colony in the second half Thursday night in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/16/2020 7:44:51 PM
Modified: 3/16/2020 7:44:47 PM

Players in the final year of their high school careers have expectations placed on them that tend to be unfair and challenging to reach.

Franklin Tech’s Garret Cole exceeded those expectations put on him during his senior year with the Eagles. The big man upped his scoring from 13 points per game his junior year to 18 per game his senior year, helping lead Franklin Tech to the Western Mass. Div. 4 tournament.

His scoring average was tops in the Recorder area for boys this winter.

“I knew as a senior, I wanted to have a great season,” Cole said. “I knew we didn’t have a lot of height for our team, we were based around guards. I took the extra step to work on post moves so I could score in the paint.”

As a senior, Cole knew he would be asked to do a lot for the Eagles. Being the lone big man, he was relied upon in the rebounding department and with protecting the paint as well as his scoring responsibilities on the offensive end.

Cole was able to do each at a high level on a game-to-game basis, stepping up as a nightly force for Tech, which finished with a 14-8 overall record this winter.

“It was great to see as a coach,” Eagles coach Tim Artus said. “Garret had the mindset going in that he wanted that responsibility. It was good for him and for me and the whole team to watch him step up and do that. He did a whole lot more than just scoring. He was a presence in the paint defensively and protected the rim for us. If we needed something to happen, the ball would get in his hands. He had so many different ways of scoring. He’s someone who would help us win in any way he could.”

While Cole took multiple steps forward on the court, perhaps his biggest impact on the team might have come off it. 

Cole was named captain of the team and took the role in stride, something Artus was proud to see from his leader.

“His leadership was one of the big things,” Artus said. “I’ve watched him grow over the past couple of years. He’s always been willing to step up when we needed him to take a shot or facilitate. Bringing his teammates together, communicating between the entire team, that’s the biggest thing in his growth.”

Coming up through the Tech program, Cole said he looked up to former teammate Colin Gould, who graduated in 2017. 

Gould led the area in scoring during his senior year, putting up 25.7 points per game.

“My first year at Tech, I knew they weren’t that great,” Cole said. “Colin Gould was there, a 1,000-point scorer. Once he graduated, my goal was to try to keep up with him and try to beat what he did.”

As the season went on, Cole watched as opposition implemented different ways to try and force the ball out of his hands.

Teams would drop two or three guys on every touch he got in an attempt to strip the ball away or not give him an easy look at the rim, but the senior still found ways to put the ball in the bucket.

Once teams started sending double-teams on every touch, he adjusted and found ways to kick the ball to open shooters.

“I do take it as a compliment,” Cole said of getting the attention of opposing defenses. “Knowing teams prepare and have a few guys on me, that was a good challenge for me. Most of the teams we played did that, but I was still getting my points. It was nice seeing the other team’s morale go down when that happened.”

Cole scored a season-high 24 points on five different occasions this year, doing so in games against Ludlow, Duggan (twice), Pioneer and Turners Falls (in the postseason).

With multiple games to pick from after a successful season, matchups against one opponent in particular stood out to Cole.

“The Ludlow game,” Cole said. “They were a new team to our division, and they played very different from other teams. They had a lot more height and athletic ability. Both times we played them, they were cocky. Little did they know it was different in that we were going to take it to them.”

Following an offseason in which he worked on his game, Cole credited the extra time on the court to his success.

“Practicing a lot more,” Cole said. “We played on a summer team, whereas in previous years we didn’t have any teams like that. The extra practice was a real game changer.”

Cole finished the season with 396 total points in 22 games. He finished his high school tenure with 924 career points, 76 shy of the exclusive 1,000-point threshold. 

Though he wasn’t able to put his name on that banner, his final season with Tech is one he’d consider a success.

“I couldn’t have been happier,” Cole said. “This past season was the best record we’ve had since I was on the team. The one thing I was working toward was 1,000 points. I feel like if I did certain things during other games, I could have scored more. I wish I practiced more my earlier years.”

Greenfield’s Mason Meadows finished second in the area in scoring after averaging 16.7 points per game. Turners Falls’ Chace Novak finished in third with 16.4 ppg, Tech’s Bailey Young in fourth with 15.2 ppg and Turners’ Anthony Peterson in fifth with 14.4 ppg. 

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