DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
It was easier for Franklin Community High School girls basketball coach Walt Raines to see a few positives after his team escaped with a victory Thursday night.
The Grizzly Cubs slipped past visiting Beech Grove 43-41.
“I was proud of the kids the way they kept fighting in the second half.” Raines said. “For us not playing very well, that’s a good win. Beech Grove has a nice team. We didn’t do the things we had to do. Free throws hurt us, but we hit some big buckets down the stretch.
“Our zone needs a lot of work, but it helped us there in the second half.”
Rebounds were big, too, as Franklin (3-5) held a 32-22 edge against Beech Grove (5-3).
The Hornets’ Katie Giller missed a 3-point shot with about five seconds left, and Franklin center Allison Barnard grabbed the rebound and dished to Sarah Sullivan, who was fouled with 1.4 seconds left.
Sullivan missed them both, and the Hornets grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 0.8 seconds left. Cameron Cardenas missed a desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer. Thus, the Cubs survived despite mistakes.
“The things we did were self-inflicted,” Raines said. “We had 17 turnovers, and most of them were us being focused and thinking about taking care of the basketball and using head fakes.”
The Grizzly Cubs made just 9 of 21 free throws.
With 5:11 left, Raines was called for a technical for arguing a no-call. Giller hit one of two free throws to cut the lead to 36-35, and Kristian Folks-Bowie scored to put the Hornets ahead 37-36.
Maci Eads scored to put Franklin back in the lead for good at 38-37. Barnard gave the Cubs a 42-38 lead with a basket in the lane. But Giller responded with a 3-pointer to narrow the deficit to 42-41.
Makenna Bertsch and Barnard each missed the front end of one-and-ones, but Sullivan grabbed the rebound each time. Beech Grove coach Kristin Raker said her players missed free-throw box-outs each time.
“Those little things will win games for us even when we don’t play well,” Raines said. “Sarah got those off of hustle.”
Bertsch hit one of two free throws to provide the final margin with 15.8 seconds to go.
The Cubs made 15 of 47 shots for just under 32 percent.
“Our offense is created off of our defense, and we just didn’t create a whole lot of offense off our defense,” Raines said. “Hopefully, we’ll come out more focused on Saturday at Decatur Central.”
Eads sank a 3-pointer at first quarter buzzer to cut the Hornets’ lead to 13-11. The Hornets led 24-22 at halftime. Franklin led 36-32 with a 14-8 advantage in the third quarter.
Barnard led Franklin with 13 points despite picking up her fourth foul with 2:22 left in the third quarter with two back-to-back fouls. Eads added 12 points.
Giller was the high scorer for the Hornets with 18 points.
“To me we deserved that game,” Raker said. “Our girls fought hard, and they wanted it. It’s frustrating. But we’ve been telling all our girls it’s time to finish. We’ve been in a couple of close games, and we can’t seem to close that gap and get that. But I think our time is coming.”