Albion left Isabella Ratliff open all night, and the Franklin College freshman made them pay.
Ratliff hit six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 69-63 upset win at home Thursday.
“I don’t know where that came from,” Ratliff said with a laugh. “They always tell me to shoot, and I usually look to pass. Tonight I just shot it. I just felt it.”
Ratliff’s final trey came with 29 seconds to go and proved to be the decisive points in the game. With the Grizzlies clinging to just a two-point lead, Ratliff fired up an open 3 from the left corner that found nothing but net.
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Albion’s Brittany Leutz answered with a trey of her own on the other end, but with 15 seconds left to go the visiting Britons had few options. Bayleigh Walker hit two free throws with 10.9 seconds to go, the Grizzlies survived a 3-pointer, and Riley Achenbach added two free throws for the final margin.
“It feels wonderful because we’ve been in a slump,” Ratliff said. “It’s nice to finally win one.”
Franklin (3-5) shot as well as it has all season, hitting 44 percent (24 for 54) of its shots from the floor, including 8 of 22 from the 3-point line. Albion wasn’t far behind, going 22 of 52 (42 percent) from the floor, but the Britons made just 11 of 21 from the free-throw line and committed 22 turnovers.
After a slow start that saw the Grizzlies fall behind 11-2, Franklin found its groove and ripped off an 11-0 run to take the lead.
The teams traded the lead from that point. Albion led 17-13 after the first quarter but Franklin caught fire in the second, building a 28-19 lead on a Kelsey Smith jumper with 4:56 to go.
Franklin still led 30-20 with just over two minutes before the half when Albion closed the quarter with a rush. Rain Hinton’s layup with three seconds to go capped an 11-0 run to give the Britons a 31-30 lead at the half.
Albion (7-3) continued that momentum at the start of the third and built a 38-31 lead before Franklin recovered and began chipping away, pulling within 50-49 by the end of the stanza before making its run to take the lead.
“I think it was a total team effort. We struggled a bit early, but we got our composure and got a big lift with Izzy coming off the bench,” Franklin coach Dana Haggenjos said. “In high school she was expected to feed the post but this is college and we want her to shoot. She did that tonight.”
Ratliff was 8 of 13 shooting overall and 6 of 8 on 3-point attempts. Walker also had a big night, scoring 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting and grabbing eight rebounds.
Franklin gets the rest of the week off and returns to action Dec. 29 when it heads to Capital (Ohio) for a two-day tournament.