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Franklin falls in finale of own tourney

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With a starting front line that averages 5-foot-11, Rushville dominated inside en route to a 46-27 win against Franklin in the championship game of the 18th annual Lady Cub Classic on Friday night.

In an attempt to keep the score close, Franklin deliberately used long possessions on offense, and for one quarter it worked.

Coming out of the first quarter with an 8-6 advantage, the Lions methodically worked the ball inside and out looking for their best shot.

Junior guard Mackenzie Campbell, who had a game-high 21 points and seven rebounds, knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Lions a 14-9 edge with a little more than five minutes left in the half.

Back down low, forwards Keragan Niehoff and Kelsi Ash capitalized with two easy layups off the glass, and Campbell hit another 3-pointer to give Rushville a 23-13 lead at the break.

Franklin coach Walt Raines said his young team just couldn’t match up out front or down low.

“We got beat by a better team. It’s as simple as that. We could have done things a lot better, but as I told the kids, you got beat by a very good team,” Raines said. “The kids have to shoot with confidence and not worry about the shot they just missed and get the next one.”

Throughout the third quarter, it was Campbell, Niehoff and another 5-11 forward, Sara Cook, who helped the Lions maintain a 12- to 15-point margin.

Freshman forward Whitney Shapp, normally a starter for Franklin, had to sit out the tournament with the flu.

“The kids are starting to get a feel for what each other is going to do and get a better feel for what each other is capable of doing,” Raines said. “That way can get them to play to their strengths.”

With a 35-20 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, Rushville substituted freely and ran out the clock over the final minute and half without taking a shot.

For the winners, Niehoff finished with 12 points and four rebounds. Junior forward Vanessa Kinsey finished with a team-high eight points to lead the Cubs, while senior Kylie Whittington added six points and a team-best nine rebounds.

The Cubs (6-7) reached the championship game by defeating New Palestine 53-21 in the tournament’s morning session, while Rushville got by Indian Creek 64-51.

In Friday night’s consolation contest, Indian Creek knocked off New Palestine 64-47.

Leading the way for the Braves with a game-high 24 points was senior guard Brooke Mathena, who made six 3-pointers. Senior Ally Lehman added 23 points and six rebounds.

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