The Franklin girls basketball team promised a return to its traditional uptempo style this season.
That style was the difference Friday night, as the Grizzly Cubs used pressure defense and a fast-paced offense to thump visiting Greensburg 69-39 in the season-opener.
Franklin struggled in the opening minutes, turning the ball over five times, and trailed 13-8 with 3:00 to play in the first quarter. The Cubs settled down and quickly took control of the game. Tara Parmer hit a short jumper that kicked off a 19-0 run that stretched over the next 7:53 of play.
Franklin forced 21 Pirates turnovers in the first half and limited Greensburg to just 17 shot attempts. By halftime, Franklin was up 34-17, led by sophomore Maci Eads’ 13 points.
The second half brought more of the same. Franklin forced another 17 Greensburg turnovers and held the Pirates to only five made field goals in the half.
Coach Walt Raines said that was exactly how the Cubs want to play this season.
“We have to take advantage of our quickness,” he said. “If we can keep putting the heat on people and wear them down, that’s what we want to do.”
Parmer, playing in her first game in 370 days — since a knee injury ended her junior campaign on Nov. 10, 2012 — scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high five rebounds. She drilled her first shot attempt of the night, a 3-pointer from the right wing. The senior said she was happy to be back in action.
“It was a great feeling to be back on the floor with my teammates,” she said. “I wasn’t
nervous. I was just ready to be back out there. Every once in a while when I fall, I get worried; but I just had to think positive.”
Eads and senior Brooke Pleak led the Cubs with 15 points each. Franklin shot just 36.4 percent from the field (24 of 66). It also missed 11 of 25 free-throw attempts. Raines said he was not worried about that percentage.
“The shots didn’t fall, but we got the shots,” he said. “We had a lot of good looks, but they just didn’t go down. Part of it, too, is that we get up-and-down the court so fast that sometimes we get hurried up a little.”
Twelve Franklin players scored at least one point. Raines said that depth allows the Grizzly Cubs to play at the pace he wants them to.
“We’re going to play a lot of kids. We told them just go in and play three minutes, four minutes hard, and we’ll get somebody in for you.
“There’s a lot of positives.”
Greensburg had fewer shot attempts (31) than turnovers (38) and hit only 11 of those field-goal attempts. They also hit just 14 of 25 free throws.
Franklin hosts Edinburgh on Tuesday in the opening round of the Johnson County Tournament.