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Lady Wildcats survive low-scoring affair to win first road game

By Tyler Whittamore, Sports Editor

FOUNTAIN CITY – Injuries left the Franklin County varsity girls' basketball team at less than full strength for a road battle against Northeastern on Friday night, November 10, but the Lady Wildcats persevered with a fourth quarter rally to win by a 29-21 score. After losing the services of Abby Orschell for the remainder of the year, the team also sustained injuries limited injuries to Megan Getz and Meredith Bohman.

Contests in Fountain City are generally more physical, and such was the case on Friday night as both teams fought over rebounds and loose balls. A total of 29 fouls were called during the contest, but many more could have been called. The physicality of both teams resulted in an incredible 19 jump ball calls.

“Northeastern was tough and aggressive,” FC head coach Doug Robertson said. “We don't want to make excuses out of our injuries, but I thought we did a good job of handling the pressure. When we play Lawrenceburg, Rushville and other teams down the road, they'll be physical as well, and we have to be able to handle that.

Offense was a scarcity during the contest, with baskets coming at a premium. Each made shot, for either squad, was cheered heartily by the respective fans of each team. In the end, the Lady Wildcats made just nine of their 47 shot attempts, shooting a paltry 19 percent. Northeastern faired little better, hitting 9-of-34 for 26 percent.

The difference for Franklin County came at the free-throw line. The Lady Wildcats hit just 10-of-17 (59 percent), but the number of attempts illustrated FC's aggressivness to the basket.

The Lady Knights were just 2-for-4 from the line. The difference in made free throws on the night was eight points, which was matched by the same difference on the scoreboard.

The first three quarters of the night saw Franklin County fall behind but stay within striking distance. The team never owned a lead until the final five-and-a-half minutes of the game. The Lady Wildcats tied the game five times in the contest before taking the lead at the end.

The Lady Knights kicked off the scoring with an inside basket from Kasey Andrews. The Lady 'Cats tied it up on a pair of free throws by Kendall McCool, but a quick three-pointer from Jenna McFarland gave the home team a lead that would stretch for more than eight minutes.

Franklin County finished 1-for-13 (8 percent) from the field in the first quarter. The only basket came from Kamryn McCool. The period ended with Northeastern leading, 6-4.

A Kelli Drake layup to start the second quarter extended things for the Lady Knights, but FC scored four straight to tie things up again at 8-8. After Northeastern scored four straight, the Lady 'Cats came back again to tie the game at 12-12.

The first half ended on a float at the buzzer by McFarland, giving the home team a 16-13 advantage. Franklin County finished the first two quarters shooting a paltry 3-for-24 (13 percent). The team was shutout behind the arc, missing all nine of its three-point attempts.

The scoreless streak from deep ended at the start of the third quarter, as Layne Steele buried a three to open the scoring in the second half, tying the game at 16-16. The tie would last for over five minutes before a steal and layup by Drake gave the Lady Knights the lead back.

The Lady Wildcats tied it again on a jumper by Taylor McCreary with 20 seconds left in the third, but Northeastern beat the buzzer again on a basket by Alizah Rankin. The fourth quarter began with FC trailing by a 20-18 margin.

Franklin County's defense was outstanding all night, forcing missed shots by the Lady Knights and forcing 24 turnovers. A little offensive momentum for FC in the final period was all the difference the team needed.

The Lady Knights hit a free throw to start the fourth. Trailing by a 21-18 margin, the Lady Wildcats got back-to-back field goals from Kendall McCool and Ashlan Hill, giving FC its first lead of the night at 22-21. Northeastern called a timeout, but a offensive rebound and put-back by McCreary extended the lead to 24-21.

Franklin County would go on to score the final five points of the night, earning a 29-21 victory. The FC defense allowed just the one point in the fourth quarter.

“Our girls came out in the fourth quarter really fired up,” Coach Robertson said. “Once we had the lead, the pressure was gone for them, and they were able to take us home with a win.”

It was not a pretty offensive night for FC, but Kamryn McCool and Izzy Hoff led the team in scoring with seven points apiece. For the second game in a row, McCool recorded double-digit rebounds, pulling down 10 boards.

McFarland led all players in scoring with eight points. No other Lady Knight scored more than four. Emma Wright led the team in rebounds with seven.

After their difficult battle at Northeastern, the Lady Wildcats (2-0) were back in action the following evening with a contest at Centerville.