Slow start dooms Grizzly Cubs

INDIANAPOLIS

Franklin’s girls basketball team saved its worst for first Thursday night at Perry Meridian.

It would end up costing the Grizzly Cubs in what amounted to a 64-52 road loss against a Falcons squad now riding a four-game win streak.

“Perry is playing at a really high level right now. They’re very well-coached and have some Division-I players on the floor,” Franklin coach Josh Sabol said. “One of our weaknesses all year is that we always have that one bad quarter.

“You go back to some of our previous games and we’ll lose by eight or nine, but we’ll win three of the quarters. We put ourselves in a hole, and then you have to use all that energy to fight back.”

Which is what the Cubs did. Perry Meridian scored the first three baskets and were off to the races, leading by as many as 14 points in the opening quarter (18-4) and by as many as 16 in the second (26-10).

From here, Franklin, propelled by 3-pointers from Makenna Bertsch and Delanie Hill, made it an 11-point spread at the half.

With 56.4 seconds remaining in the third, Franklin freshman Hailee Robbins drained a triple from the top of the key to make it 42-37. In what would become a pattern the rest of the way, Perry Meridian quickly answered – in this case with a baseline 3-pointer from sophomore guard Ariana Booker.

Franklin had the point spread as close to six points on three different occasions the final quarter, the last being 56-50 on a Sarah Sullivan scoop shot at 3:22.

The Falcons then put it away by closing with an 8-2 scoring run.

Senior guards Hill and Bertsch scored 11 and 10 points in a losing effort for Franklin. Another senior, forward Allison Barnard, led the Cubs in rebounds with five to go along with her 10 points.

Leading all scorers was Perry Meridian sophomore guard Melody Johnson with 22 points. Junior forward Sadie Hill added 18 along with nine boards.

“We’ve got girls like Makenna Bertsch and Cami Cochrane … our seniors play with a lot of pride,” Sabol said. “We played hard and kept fighting.”

Franklin (10-10) enjoys some time off before its next outing, an afternoon game at Whiteland on Jan. 21. The Falcons (10-7) play their fourth Johnson County foe of the regular season with a game at Center Grove on Tuesday.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.