The 12-point lead that the Franklin girls basketball team built up over the first two and a half quarters of Thursday’s season opener against Mt. Vernon (Fortville) didn’t hold up.
The Grizzly Cubs regrouped down the stretch, and Hailee Robbins scored 10 of her game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter to lead the home squad to a narrow 55-52 victory.
“She puts in so much extra time,” Franklin coach Josh Sabol said of Robbins. “She’s hungry. She wants to be a big-time player, and she is one of the hardest workers on the team … and it shows.”
The Grizzly Cubs scored nine points in a row to build an early 9-3 edge, and they still held that six-point cushion at the end of the first quarter, 15-9. Maya Elliott had the hot hand at the outset, hitting a pair of 3-pointers during an eight-point period. Franklin’s lone senior finished the night with 15 points.
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Mt. Vernon tightened the game up at the start of the second quarter, getting within one on Sydnee Perry’s second 3 and a pair of foul shots from Sophia Williams. The Grizzly Cubs, though, rebuilt their lead to 27-18 by halftime behind eight second-quarter points from Hailee Robbins.
Franklin had its share of struggles in halfcourt sets, but a stifling defense that forced 14 first-half turnovers helped generate a fair amount of scoring chances in transition. Robbins, Kyra Baker and Abby DeArmitt all displayed active hands and an ability to disrupt Marauder passing lanes.
Seven consecutive points, five of them from Robbins, put Franklin back in control at 34-22 before Mt. Vernon closed the third quarter with a 12-2 run to get within two. Perry then opened the fourth by getting fouled on a 3-point shot and making all three free throws to put the Marauders on top, 37-36.
Both times that the Grizzly Cubs lost the lead, though, Robbins got it right back for them with a bucket. Franklin was able to hold on from there, hitting nine fourth-quarter foul shots to preserve the upper hand.
“We never got discouraged,” Robbins said. “We all just went back and hustled and played our hearts out, because we knew we needed to take this one.”