For the Daily Journal
In a game of bursts, it was Franklin that had the last laugh, breaking its four-game losing streak with a 59-51 home win against Perry Meridian in girls basketball Thursday night.
The Grizzly Cubs found themselves trailing by seven late in the third quarter and by one midway through the fourth when they found a final gear, closing the game on a 15-6 run to claim their first win since just before the new year.
“We’ve run the gauntlet. If you look at our schedule in January it’s just brutal, especially for a young team,” Franklin coach Josh Sabol said. “This is the part of the schedule that is really tough for us.”
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Both teams took turns throughout the game seizing momentum with long runs.
Franklin (8-11) used a 10-0 run that spanned the first and second quarters to take its biggest lead of the game. Maya Elliott kicked off the spurt with a three-point play that erased a one-point deficit and Bayleigh Torrance hit a basket near the end of the quarter to give Franklin a 16-12 lead.
That momentum carried over into the second quarter, with a basket by Peyton Wilson and a 3-pointer from Kyra Baker giving the Grizzly Cubs a 21-12 lead.
But the rest of the quarter belonged to Perry Meridian. The Falcons closed the half on a 19-9 run, capped by a Megan Bolyard basket with three seconds to go that gave them a 31-30 lead at the half.
Perry Meridian (6-12) dominated most of the third quarter when the Cubs could do little right. Five minutes into the frame Franklin had zero points and six turnovers, helping the Falcons build a 37-30 lead.
“I think what happened in the third was that the ball just got sticky. We didn’t move it around, we weren’t cutting, we weren’t screening. It was just a lot of catch and hold and stand,” Sabol said. “That’s not good offense. We want to move it side to side and I think in the fourth quarter we started doing that and started getting easier baskets.”
Torrance broke the Perry run with a basket and Franklin closed to within 41-38 at the end of the quarter. Six straight points by Hailee Robbins to open the fourth gave the Cubs a 44-41 lead.
The Falcons came back with four straight points of their own and still led 47-46 with just over four minutes to play, but Torrance hit a two and Robbins knocked down a 3 and the Cubs didn’t trail again. Four free throws by Baker in the final 1:13 iced the win.
Robbins finished with 22 points to lead all scorers while Baker scored 13 and Torrance added 12 off the bench.
Franklin gets nearly a week and a half off before its next game, a Mid-State Conference showdown with county rival Whiteland at home Jan. 20.