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Franklin tunes up for sectional with victory

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Franklin’s girls basketball team wanted to put an end to its late-season lull. The Grizzly Cubs had lost six of their past seven games entering Thursday’s regular-season finale against visiting Shelbyville.

Mission accomplished.

The Cubs bolted out of the gate, building 9-0 and 22-6 leads en route to a 48-32 victory.

Franklin concluded regular-season play at 11-10, while dropping the Golden Bears to 7-13.

The Cubs’ defense helped force Shelbyville to miss its first nine shots, and the Bears hit just 1 of 13 from the floor in the first quarter. Shelbyville also committed four turnovers, while the Cubs didn’t commit any in the game’s first 5:30 when Franklin built its 9-0 edge.

“Our pregame speech pumped us up, and we played as a team,” said senior point guard Tara Parmer, who scored 11 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out several assists in her final home game. “We said we need to play five as one. That’s our motivational motto.”

Parmer looked for her shot a little more often than usual early, scoring 10 of her 11 points in the first half, but made sure everyone was involved throughout the game.

Sophomore backcourt mate Maci Eads led Franklin with 12 points, and she hit all four of her 3-point attempts. Delanie Hill added seven points off the bench, and senior Vanessa Kinsey pulled down a game-high seven rebounds for the Cubs.

“Defensively, we did a pretty good job taking some things away,” Franklin coach Walt Raines said. “We want to take away all options, pressure the ball and make the ball-handler make some decisions. They got away for some 3-pointers, but we did a much better job in the second half.”

Allyson Conner led Shelbyville with 17 points, including five 3-pointers, while Riley Achenbach added seven, but no other Golden Bears player scored more than three.

Shelbyville hit just 10 of 48 from the field (20.8 percent), while Franklin connected on 18 of 46 (39.1 percent) and 6 of 14 from 3-point range (42.9 percent).

“Franklin does a great job with their full-court pressure,” said Shelbyville coach Scott Larrabee, who coached Whiteland’s girls’ squad during the 2011-12 season.

“Their pressure bothered us, and it took us some time to adjust to it. We dug ourselves a hole, and whenever it looked like we could dig ourselves out, we couldn’t knock down a shot.”

After Franklin built its 22-6 lead with 5:08 remaining in the first half, Shelbyville scored the game’s next eight points to cut the lead to 22-14.

The Cubs responded with an 8-0 run of their own that spanned the second and third quarters, capped by Eads’ fourth 3-pointer of the game just 29 seconds into the second half. That extended Franklin’s lead to 30-14, and Shelbyville never drew closer than 10 points after that.

Franklin drew the bye in the Class 4A Whiteland Sectional and will play the Center Grove-Franklin Central winner in the second game Feb. 14.

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