Grizzly Cubs come up short

For the Daily Journal

Seniors usually are the go-to players coaches want to take over tight games.

That was the case for Greensburg, as senior Kyra Whitaker scored eight of her team’s final 11 points to help the Class 3A No. 4 Pirates to a 61-53 win against host Franklin in girls basketball action Friday night.

Despite the score, it was a thriller of a contest for most of the second half.

And it briefly appeared that Franklin was going to win, but it was the senior experience that benefited the Pirates.

Franklin had senior Maya Elliott, who had eight fourth-quarter points, but that wasn’t enough.

“Oh, for sure it was (experience) that won it out for them,” Franklin coach Josh Sabol said, “But I love my team and we slugged it out with them with our freshman and sophomores. Even my juniors don’t have the experience, but they played well and I love it that they were in there against a top-ranked team.”

The game was delayed for 30 minutes just after tipoff due to a medical emergency in the stands.

Greensburg (2-1), which was coming off a loss at the hands of 2A No. 3 South Ripley, got early 3-point baskets by Whitaker and the Meyer twins, Ashlynn and Bailey. Franklin, meanwhile, was having trouble getting field goals.

The Cubs got their first and only field goal of the first quarter with 1:32 left, but the Pirates went into a drought of their own in the second quarter and the score was even at the half, 23-23.

Greensburg threatened to run away with it in the third, taking a 14-point lead, but the Pirates frittered away the lead thanks to turnovers and the Cubs getting hot towards the end of the quarter. The Pirates’ edge soon disappeared thanks to the Cubs finding their own 3-point touch.

Elliott, who led all scorers with 18 points, had three 3s in the second half and four overall, and Franklin had a 47-46 lead with 3:12 to go.

“Maya is such an amazing leader,” Sabol said. “She is selfless and someone that leads by example. She take the others under her wing.”

That edge grew to three points, but then Whitaker hit a tying 3-pointer with 2:25 left and essentially took over the game. She finished with 14 points for the Pirates.

Rhegan Day was Greensburg’s leading scorer with 15 while Aliyah Evans added 13 and Bailey Meyer 12 for the Pirates. Sophomore Hailee Robbins added 14 points for Franklin despite missing a key stretch of the fourth quarter with a cut mouth.

Franklin next faces Whiteland in the first round of the Johnson County Tournament on Tuesday.

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Ken Severson is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.