Walt Raines would’ve liked to have seen more attacking and more aggressiveness in the first half. So the veteran Franklin girls basketball coach talked to the players at halftime about coming out and starting over.
“Just go out and play hard for the final 16 minutes,” Raines said. “And the kids did that.”
In the second half, the Grizzly Cubs forced 13 turnovers and played to a 27-all tie. But they couldn’t get a run going to counter Franklin Central’s 20-point halftime lead.
With a 62-42 victory against Franklin in Friday’s first semifinal of the Class 4A Whiteland Sectional, the Flashes (16-4) get a chance to defend their sectional title at 7:30 tonight against Greenwood.
“Franklin Central is an awfully nice, solid basketball team,” Raines said. “They are disciplined. They don’t hurt themselves.”
The Flashes continued to show why they’re a solid team, especially in the first half. They took a 16-3 first-quarter lead with a 12-6 rebounding edge and stretched the lead to 35-15 at halftime.
Junior Kennedy Archer scored a game-high 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting, grabbed four rebounds and recorded three steals. Senior Abbey Titzer owned the boards, grabbing 15 to go with her six points and two blocks.
The Flashes finished with a 47-33 rebounding edge.
Franklin (11-11), meanwhile, struggled to make shots, hitting just 17 of 63 (27 percent).
“We didn’t block out a lick in the first half,” Raines said. “We let them go to the boards, and we didn’t do much to fight them.
“Second half, I thought we blocked out better. I thought we released to the basketball a lot better. Just an all-around much better effort in the second half.”
Franklin freshman Allison Barnard came off the bench, leading the team with eight points and six rebounds.
“She’s come a long way as the season progressed,” Raines said. “She started the season off with recovering from a summer foot injury. Month by month, she’s gotten better. And she is going to be a stud for us.”
Seniors Tara Parmer and Vanessa Kinsey each scored six points.
Raines loses four seniors: Brooke Pleak, Parmer, Aeja Ross and Kinsey.
“Words can’t describe what all four of them mean,” Raines said. “They are all just fantastic kids. They play their hearts out. They do everything you ask them to do.
“The kind of kids that you wish every parent would have a kid like that because they are just the best of the best.”