Maci Eads didn’t want Tuesday’s girls basketball game to be her last. The Franklin Community High School senior felt the same way for her retiring coach, Walt Raines.
Eads and her teammates made sure it wasn’t.
She scored 15 of her game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Grizzly Cubs rally from a nine-point deficit with 2:36 left to upset Martinsville 70-66 in a Class 4A Center Grove Sectional first-round game.
The win puts Franklin (9-14) into Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against the host Trojans, ends the Artesians’ season at 15-8 and extends Eads’ and Raines’ careers by at least one more game.
Raines, in his 28th campaign as the Cubs’ coach, already had announced he would retire from coaching at season’s end. Eads, Franklin’s lone senior, said the will to keep their season going drove the fourth-quarter comeback.
“I’m proud of everyone that put in work,” Eads said. “We didn’t give up. The last time we played them (a 52-38 loss), they got the lead, and we kind of gave up. (Offensively), I felt like I had to take on the responsibility to keep the season going.”
Franklin appeared to be in deep trouble after Martinsville’s Gracie Johnson converted a layup off a turnover with 2:36 left to give the Artesians a 59-50 lead.
The Cubs quickly answered, however, with a Delanie Hill free throw, an Eads 3-point play on a putback basket and an Eads 3-pointer. That 7-0 run whittled Martinsville’s lead to 59-57 in just 35 seconds.
Makenna Bertsch’s layup off a turnover with 1:25 left gave Franklin a 62-61 lead, but Martinsville kept pace, tying the game 66-66 on Jessica Nix’s 3-point play with 29.9 seconds to go.
On Franklin’s ensuing possession, Hill missed a jumper, but Allison Barnard grabbed the offensive rebound and laid it in to give the Cubs a 68-66 edge with 17 seconds left.
Martinsville’s Merideth Deckard missed a 3-point try, and Hill rebounded and was fouled with 3.4 seconds left. After missing three free throws earlier in the quarter, she hit both this time, giving Franklin a two-possession lead and the win.
“We just picked up our intensity (defensively),” Raines said, explaining the Cubs’ fourth-quarter comeback. “We threw some zone and junk defenses at them earlier, and went back to an aggressive man-to-man. We played as a unit.”
Franklin hit 8 of 12 from the field in the fourth quarter and 24 of 49 overall (.490). The Cubs committed 17 turnovers, but 11 came in the first half.
Hill added 14 points off the bench, nine in the second half, while Barnard totaled 12 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
Martinsville’s Kayana Traylor was the most dominant player on the floor until Eads’ fourth-quarter heroics. She finished with 26 points and tied teammate Nix for game-high honors with nine rebounds. Nix and Bryanna Collier each added 11 points for the Artesians.
In the meantime, Raines and Eads will play at least one more game.
“This game was most gratifying because it’s shown that these kids have learned how to win,” Raines said. “That means more to me than anything. They didn’t fold. Last week, (Martinsville) got a similar-type lead, and we kind of folded. (Tuesday), we just refused to lose.”