McCool twins lead Lady ’Cats to season-opening win
By Tyler Whittamore, Sports Editor
The Franklin County varsity girls' basketball team got the 2017-18 season started off on the right foot with a 52-30 victory at home over the Rising Sun Lady Shiners on Friday night, November 3. Beginning their season campaign, the McCool twins, Kendall and Kamryn led FC in scoring with 10 points apiece, accounting for 38 percent of the Lady Wildcats' total.
Franklin County entered the game with a new look lineup, after graduation and injury culled several starters from last year's team. The Lady 'Cats showed little signs of rust, however, winning every single quarter against their Rising Sun counterparts.
The Lady Wildcats won the turnover battle during the evening. Franklin County committed only 10 turnovers in the contest, and several of them came while trying to push the ball up the floor. According to FC head coach Doug Robertson, physical mistakes will happen, but trying to avoid mental mistakes is the name of the game.
“We want to be aggressive, but we need to stay in control,” the coach said after the game. “The biggest thing we come back to is that our mistakes are correctable. We can't beat ourselves up. We just have to keep getting better.”
On the other hand, Rising Sun struggled to string together positive possessions. The Lady Shiners turned the ball over 23 times in the contest. Defensive pressure from the Lady Wildcats was the driving force for a high number of those, after FC registered 12 steals.
The Lady Wildcats were aided by a tremendous effort at the foul line. The team, which has struggled mightily at the charity stripe in the past, shot 15-for-23 (65 percent) against Rising Sun. The aggressiveness by FC helped maintain the lead and keep the visitors from making a run.
Coach Robertson was full of praise for his team after it won its season-opening game. The only issue the coach really had with FC's performance was in its offensive efficiency. The Lady Wildcats had too many empty possessions, but as the team grows and gains more experience playing together, that problem will hopefully fall by the wayside.
“We dressed 10 girls tonight, and eight of them have not played a lot of meaningful varsity minutes,” Robertson said. “They were a little nervous to start the game, but I think everyone contributed tonight, and that's what it's going to take to be successful this year.”
Franklin County also struggled to control and contain Rising Sun's Lucy Carrigan. The senior Lady Shiner led all players with 24 points. She was just 6-for-20 (30 percent) from the field, but she stayed aggressive and got to the foul line, where she hit 10-of-11 (91 percent) of her attempts. Carrigan also pulled down 12 rebounds for a double-double.
The Lady Wildcats came into the game looking for a spark to start the season, and they got just that from sophomore Taylor McCreary after the tip. A quick lay-in by the sophomore put FC on top, 2-0. After Carrigan evened it with a bucket of her own, McCreary nailed a three-point shot.
Powered by McCreary's opening act, the Lady Wildcats never trailed in the contest. After Carrigan pulled RS to within one, 5-4, FC outscored the competition by an 8-4 margin to close the first quarter with a 13-8 lead. Franklin County allowed the Lady Shiners to score just three points in the second quarter. The visitors were held scoreless in the period until the final 30 seconds before halftime. Baskets from the field and the free throw line helped the Lady 'Cats grow the lead to 24-8.
Rising Sun finally scored on an old-fashioned three-point play by Carrigan at the 30-second mark. Franklin County answered with a fade-away basket by Meredith Bohman with seven seconds remaining, leading the Lady Wildcats to a 26-11 halftime lead.
Franklin County continued to increase its lead with the start of the second half. A three-pointer by Kendall McCool started the action in the third quarter. A quick-hitter for a layup by Bohman on an out-of-bounds play ended the period, giving FC its largest lead of the night at 40-20.
With the Lady Shiners doubled up, Franklin County was able to cruise in the fourth quarter. Rising Sun scored 10 points in the final eight minutes, the most in any period, but it was all in vain. The Lady Wildcats scored 12 points with mostly reserves on the court, giving the home team a 52-30 win.
Both McCools scored 10 points on the night in an easy win. Kamryn McCool registered a double-doubled after pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds.
“I don't think either (Kamryn or Kendall) forced any of their shots tonight,” Coach Robertson said. “They are the senior leaders, and they set the tone for us.”
McCreary added nine points to the FC cause, while Bohman added seven and Megan Getz scored six. Gabby Mitchum made her return to the Lady Wildcat rotation by being an impact on the defensive end, recording four steals and scoring two points.
Carrigan scored all but six of Rising Sun's points, accounting for 80 percent of the team's offense. No other Lady Shiner scored more than two points.
The Lady Wildcats (1-0) will compete in their first double-weekend beginning this Friday night, November 10, as the team travels to Northeastern (1-1). The following evening, Saturday, November 11, the team will head north again for a match against Centerville (0-1). Both contests are slated to begin at 6 p.m. with the junior varsity contest.