Saturday night provided a classic contrast on the basketball court at Franklin Community High School.
Host Franklin was pitted against Rushville in the final of the Lady Cub Classic. The matchup featured Rushville’s size and strength against the Grizzly Cubs’ quickness and skill.
On this night at least, it was sheer power that won out, as Rushville’s inside game led it to a 53-40 victory.
Franklin coach Walt Raines said some critical factors went the Lions’ way. But he insisted his team’s skill set could win out in this matchup on a given night.
“We’re not going to change the way we approach the game. We’re going to attack them,” Raines said. “Our quickness and speed is our advantage, and we’re going to play the same way.
“Rushville’s got a nice team. They’re very physical, and the players do a nice job of using their strength. It’s one of those games where if the game is called that way, it’s going to be to their advantage.”
Despite the result, Raines applauded the Cubs’ effort.
“Rushville’s kids played hard, but again, if the quickness isn’t allowed to be used and we try to drive to the basket and always have a hand on our back, then it’s to their advantage,” Raines said. “I’m not taking anything away from Rushville. (Coach) Melissa (Marlow) does a great job, and they have some nice players. I thought our kids fought hard and played hard the entire game, so I’m happy with our effort.”
Coming off a 54-41 semifinal win earlier Saturday against Batesville, the Cubs were deliberate with their offensive possessions, taking care of the basketball, as evidenced by only committing eight turnovers on the night. Their patience, however, did not always pay off with quality shots, and they fell behind in the second quarter and struggled to close the gap.
Rushville, who had beaten Indian Creek 43-26 in the other semifinal, employed a slow tempo, as well, but repeatedly worked the ball inside either with drives to the basket or passes to the post.
By game’s end, this strategy put the Lions on the foul line for 34 free throw attempts. They converted 29 to seal the victory.
Raines said the Cubs were a little too tentative on offense in the first half.
“In the first half we didn’t push the ball as much as we wanted to, and we tried to do that better in the second half,” he said. “It’s one of those things where sometimes shots didn’t go in, but we played a better second half, even if the score didn’t show that.
“They got to the free throw line 34 times, and you’re not going to win many games when the other team gets to the free throw line 34 times. We took care of the basketball, but we couldn’t overcome their strength and size.”
Freshman Delanie Hill led the team in scoring for the night with 14 points, while Mackenzie Campbell’s 22 points, including 12 free throws, paced Rushville. Franklin (9-5) plays Friday against visiting Mid-State Conference rival Mooresville.
Batesville defeated Indian Creek 62-55 in the consolation game, despite a 30-point effort from the Braves’ Candace Danz.