DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Solid defense, dominant rebounding and taking care of the basketball proved to an excellent remedy for a six-game losing streak Tuesday as the Franklin girls basketball team closed its regular season with a 68-39 win at Shelbyville.
Franklin coach Walt Raines is confident the win will provide a confidence boost heading into next week’s Class 4A sectional game against Greenwood.
“It’s good because the kids have been through a tough schedule of games. It’s a thing where we needed a good game from everybody and we got it,” Raines said. “It’s a good thing to have on our mind as we go into the sectional.”
The game started out as a strictly half-court affair, with a slow tempo. Franklin’s Whitney Shapp scored a couple of baskets from the low post to put the Grizzly Cubs up early, while Shelbyville’s Morgan Parker served notice that she would be the offensive force for the Golden Bears by scoring six of her team’s seven first period points.
In the second quarter, Franklin’s defense started creating turnovers, and the Cubs were converting those into fast-break baskets, with Maci Eads, Makenna Bertsch and Julia Smith filling the lanes with either layups or crisp passes. Eads then hit a 3-point jumper at the buzzer to give Franklin a 32-21 lead.
Delanie Hill took over the game in the third quarter, hitting three short jumpers and a 3-pointer to stretch the Franklin lead past 15 points. But a cold-shooting streak by Franklin helped Shelbyville cut the lead to 12 after three quarters.
The Cubs put the game away early in the fourth quarter, with Shapp hitting a short jumper, Cami Cochrane hitting a 3-point shot and then Sarah Sullivan taking an outlet pass from Elizabeth Berrones and scoring a layup to make it a 20-point lead.
Franklin dominated the rebounding battle with a 41-26 advantage, led by post players Shapp and Allison Barnard.
“We got out and tried some different combinations tonight just to see how different things worked. I thought every combination we put out there worked pretty well,” Raines said. “Everybody contributed.
“It’s the first time we had everyone together for a while, and that was good to see.”
Franklin (9-13) took good care of the ball throughout the game, committing only eight turnovers.
Delanie Hill led the Cubs in scoring with 15 points, followed by Shapp with 10.
Morgan Parker scored 12 for Shelbyville (7-14).