The streak is over and the Franklin Community High School girls basketball team is ready to host its Class 4A sectional beginning next week.
The Grizzly Cubs hadn’t won since Dec. 28 when they beat New Palestine in their own holiday tournament.
But after dropping seven straight, Franklin rebounded in a big way by defeating host Shelbyville, 43-37, Tuesday night.
Cubs coach Walt Raines said with the kind of season the team has had to endure, it’s satisfying to know it is headed in the right direction again.
“It has been a long season, and it’s not up to the standards that we’re used to,” Raines said. “We’ve had to work through a lot of injuries and accidents and the whole nine yards, plus we’ve got a lot of freshmen playing out there. But I think the kids have stepped up to the occasion here and we played a brutal schedule.”
Both teams got off to a slow start and while Shelbyville was perfectly satisfied to stay outside the 3-point arc, the Golden Bears ball movement was crisp and eventually netted them a 12-6 lead after one stop.
Franklin changed up its defense in the second period and went to a 3-2 zone.
“It really picked up our kids intensity and we got our hands out in the passing lanes and that made a big difference for us,” Raines said.
The Grizzly Cubs forced nine costly Shelbyville turnovers which helped Franklin get out on the break in transition.
And while Franklin wanted to go down low to 6-foot-1 senior center Kylie Whittington, the Cubs rotated the ball and found freshman guard Maci Eads open on the outside.
Eads knocked down two 3-pointers in the quarter and senior Danielle Phair came off the bench and added another trey to put Franklin up, 16-13.
Before the half ended, freshman forward Whitney Shapp grabbed her eighth rebound and a putback off the glass to send the Cubs ahead at the half, 23-16.
In the first two minutes of the third quarter, Shelbyville tied the score at 23 apiece led by junior guard Riley Achenbach.
Just when Achenbach got into a nice shooting rhythm, she picked up her third and fourth personal fouls with 5:18 left, sending her to the bench for the rest of the quarter.
Shelbyville turned the ball over eight more times in the third quarter and Franklin continued to get heady play with offensive putbacks by junior Vanessa Kinsey.
The Cubs stayed out in front, 34-28, at the end of the third period thanks to a pull-up jumper by Eads who finished with a team-high 11 points.
The Bears got within three points in the final period, but Franklin managed to use the clock to its advantage over the final two minutes. Free throws by Kinsey and Eads sealed the victory.
For Shelbyville (3-17), Achenbach had a game-high 14 points, including four 3-pointers. The Cubs outrebounded Shelbyville, 28-23.
Franklin (7-13) hosts Greenwood in the first round of the sectional at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.