Charity may begin at home, but the Franklin Grizzly Cubs did not take what was given and gave far too much in return in dropping a 49-44 decision to Southport Tuesday night.
The guard-oriented Cubs missed 11 of 20 free-throw attempts, including the first of three bonuses, in allowing the taller Cardinals to pull away late.
“Free throws and rebounding got us. They got us by 10 on the boards, and then the free throws hurt us,” Franklin coach Walt Raines. “Those are the little things in the game that we’ve got to be sure we take care of.”
While the Cubs were missing from the line, Southport guard Emma DeHart was putting the game away.
The junior hit 8 of 9 down the stretch as the Cardinals broke away from a 36-all tie with four minutes left. For the game, DeHart had a game-high 25 points, including 14 of 18 from the line.
Franklin fought to get back in during the deciding stretch, but any hope of a comeback faded when center Allison Barnard was forced to the bench with her fourth foul.
With the Cubs’ only six-footer out of the game, Southport’s 6-foot-3 Jaelencia Williams quickly hit back-to-back post drives to put the game out of reach.
“We played a great floor game with just six turnovers,” Raines said. “But we’ve got to hit our free throws and block out. That was the difference.”
The Cards won the rebound battle 33-23.
“I’m not down on our kids. The effort was there. It’s the little mental things that we’ve got to be better at,” the coach said.
Junior Delanie Hill came off the bench to lead Franklin with 11 points, including a big fourth quarter 3-pointer that gave her team a chance late. Maci Eads added 10. Barnard had 9, including tough defense on Williams much of the game.
The Cubs looked ready to pull away early, roaring back from a 6-4 deficit midway through the first period to score nine straight. A 3-pointer from the right wing by Eads and a steal for a layup by sophomore Sarah Sullivan ignited the run.
Another 3 by junior Makenna Bertsch made it 19-10 halfway through the second period, but the Cardinals went on their own run. DeHart and forward Tiana Wright combined for the last 10 points of the half, and Southport took a 20-19 lead at the break.
The Cubs were their own worst enemy. After getting the taller Cardinals in foul trouble early, Franklin converted only five of 13 first half charity attempts.
Franklin starts 2016 with its Lady Cub Classic Saturday.
The hosts play Batesville at 10:30 a.m. and Indian Creek matches up with Brownsburg at noon. The championship is at 7:30 p.m.
Southport also hosts Whiteland that night.
“We did so many good things tonight,” Raines said of his team that starts four guards and includes only one senior. “We’ve got to use that as a springboard to get ready for Saturday.”