Grizzlies roar back to down Manchester

Down by 10 points at halftime, the Franklin College women’s basketball team rallied to defeat Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Manchester 50-48 on Wednesday at Spurlock Center.

Franklin (12-6, 8-3) remains in a two-way tie for third-place in the conference with Transylvania.

Manchester drops to 6-12 overall and 4-6.

For most of the game, it looked like the Spartans would turn the tables on their conference rival.

Franklin College got off to a fast start by taking advantage on the inside with post players Katie Brewer and Emily Alfrey.

After posting a 9-2 lead, Manchester got its offense in gear and passed Franklin to take a four-point lead at 18-14 at the end of the first period.

There were two ties early in the second quarter, but Franklin fell victim to the turnover bug, and Manchester closed the half with a 12-2 run good for a 34-24 advantage.

Manchester’s leading scorer, senior guard Katie Arterburn, kept the Spartans in good shape by hitting a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter to increase their lead to 39-30.

A brief scoring spurt in the final minute of the third quarter with layup by Alfrey and a 15-foot jump shot at the top of the key by junior Lauren DeSutter put the Grizzlies within four points at 40-36.

Another basket by DeSutter to open the final period in addition to an off-balance 3-pointer by sophomore guard Kelsey Smith pulled Franklin within one at 46-45 with a little more than four minutes remaining.

Playing good defense down the stretch, the Grizzlies finally got the match-up they were looking for.

With 2:40 left, junior guard Kaylee Comer tipped the scales in favor of the Grizzlies with a deep 3-pointer to give Franklin a 50-48 edge.

Manchester had four more possessions in the waning moments, but Franklin’s suffocating defense wouldn’t allow the Spartans to score again.

DeSutter finished with a game-high 13 points. Comer added 11 points and Brewer chipped in with nine points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

Arterburn topped Manchester with 11 points, and Justine Kruger and Victoria Christlieb each had eight.

Franklin College returns to action at home against conference foe Earlham on Saturday.