In a battle of 3s and 1s Lady Wildcats come out on top
By John Estridge, Sports Editor
At different times during the game, it seemed the visiting Oldenburg Lady Twisters were making 3-point shots, and the host Franklin County Lady Wildcats were knocking in free throws.
But those singles accumulated faster than the 3s as the Wildcats won an exciting and hard-fought game with their county rivals, 42-38, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018.
“Oldenburg got off to a really good start and hit some 3's while we really couldn't buy a basket,” FC coach Joe Adams said. “Eventually those 3's stopped falling, and we did a great job hitting our free throws down the stretch. We had struggled closing some teams out earlier this year by not making our free throws. But we took advantage and converted them.”
FC hit 22 of 32 free-throw attempts (69 percent) while the Twisters were but 5-of-18 (28 percent) from the charity stripe.
In the fourth quarter alone, the Wildcats were 11-of-17 (65 percent) while the Twisters were 1-of-5 (20 percent).
On the other side of the fence, the Twisters made five 3s while the Wildcats did not connect on any 3s.
“As a team, we don't look to shoot many 3's mostly because our percentage early in the season wasn't very high so attempting multiple 3's felt like wasted possessions,” Adams said. “I was very happy with how we handled the pressure and knocked down a lot of big free throws down the stretch.”
FC was tired. Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, the Wildcats played two games in a holiday tournament at Indian Creek, winning one of the two games.
In the first half of Saturday’s game, the Twisters held leads of four and six points several times, but the Wildcats kept fighting back.
“It was a tough night for us offensively,” Adams said. “We were very fatigued, which is to be expected when you play in a two-game tournament the previous day and then have to turn around and play the following night. We couldn't really hit from outside, but we had great awareness so we continued to drive to the basket and draw fouls.”
With 3:51 left in the game, senior defensive player extraordinaire, Jen-na Orschell fouled out. The Twisters were up by four, 35-31, and junior center Harlee Masavage was at the line for a one-and-one.
However, she missed her first shot, and the Wildcats ran off an 11-0 run to go in front 42-35 with 20 seconds remaining in the game.
“There were stretches in the game where we struggled defensively, and when Jenna fouled out, I knew we'd need to make an adjustment,” Adams said. “At the timeout, with around 3:30 (3:36 and the score was 35-33 Oldenburg) to go in the game, we made a great adjustment that I think helped us win the game.”
Adams did not elaborate on exactly what the adjustment entailed.
Senior Megan Getz nailed two free throws to knot the score at 35-35. Then, junior Taylor McCreary hit a field goal to put the Wildcats in the lead, 37-35 with 1:25 remaining.
FC did not relinquish the lead.
Oldenburg’s senior guard Hanna Hurm hit a three with 13 seconds remaining in the game for the final score.
Senior guard Abby Orschell led the Wildcats with 15 points. Getz contributed nine points while junior Kairee Hodapp added eight points. McCreary finished with a half dozen points.
Hodapp led the Wildcats in rebounding with seven. Abby Orschell had a half dozen boards while McCreary and junior Karlie Hahn each had five rebounds.
“Abby did a nice job penetrating into the lane and drawing fouls on some of Oldenburg's key guards,” Adams said. “McCreary and Hodapp both have done a great job of rebounding not only on the defensive end but on the offensive end, as well. And Megan Getz did what any good senior does. She knocked down big free throws to help seal the win for us.”
Senior forward Katie Kinker led all scorers with 18 points. With 3:35 remaining in the second quarter, Kinker recorded her 1,000th career point on a trey.
Junior center Gigi Dryer added seven points.
FC improved to 6-9 on the season while the Twisters went to 8-7. FC lost two games after that to be 6-11 while the Twisters won their next two games to be 10-7.
FC went 1-1 at the Indian Creek Holiday Tournament held Friday, Dec. 28.
The Wildcats lost to host Indian Creek 65-38 and then went on to defeat a very athletic Bloomington North team, 41-36. Indian Creek lost to Indianapolis Chatard 50-48 in the title game.
In the opening game of the tournament, the Wildcats stuck with Indian Creek for a half but a 21-8 third quarter sealed the deal for the Lady Braves.
“In our first game, we ran into a really good Indian Creek squad,” Adams said. “They were all about the same height, which was around 5'8 or 5'9 so they had great size and length to go along with athleticism. We hung around with them for a half but couldn't hit shots to stay in the game. They're a very solid team that will make a lot of noise in their sectional.”
In the game, Abby Orschell led the Wildcats with a dozen points. Three Wildcats each scored five points. They are: Ashlan Hill, Hodapp and Hoff. Hahn had a half dozen points.
For Indian Creek, the Braves were led by Caitlyn Snyder who had 16 points. Ali Harris contributed 10 points.
In the consolation game, Abby Orschell exploded with 18 points. Hodapp added nine points while Jenna Orschell had five points. Only one Lady Cougar was in double figures. Ainsley Urbanski had 17 points.
On Wednesday, Jan. 2, the Lady Wildcats lost an Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference battle at Rushville 62-40.
As with many games this season, the Wildcats hung with the host Lady Lions through a half but were doubled in the third quarter, 20-10 to give Rushville a commanding 48-29 lead.
“Rushville is a talented team but are extremely physical to go along with it,” Adams said. “We competed really hard with them, and I was proud of our effort. We unfortunately couldn't compete with their strength on the inside. They also hit a lot of shots from the outside, which were tough to defend when you also have to focus on their inside players.”
No Wildcats made it to double-digit scoring. Two Wildcats finished with eight points each. They were Abby Orschell and Hahn. Jenna Orschell added seven points.
Rushville senior Allie Smith led all scorers with 16 points and fellow senior Taylor Browning had 10 points. Rushville has a 11-8 record overall and 3-2 in the conference.
EIAC foe Greensburg led from start to finish Saturday, Jan. 5 defeating FC 55-28.
However, as has been the story for many girls games this season, the Wildcats hung in for a half, going into the locker room, behind by just seven points, 21-14.
“We hung in with them for a half,” Adams said. “Greensburg has a lot of talent to match up against.”
The second half seemed to start well as Greensburg was called for a five-second violation trying to inbound the ball. Abby Orschell’s deny defense caught the Lady Pirates flat footed. However, FC was not able to capitalize on the turnover and Greensburg went on a 5-0 run to begin the quarter. That developed to a 21-6 for the quarter.
“Defensively, you couldn't have asked for a better way to start the half,” Adams said. “Unfortunately, we couldn't build on that.”
Greensburg played a straight man defense the entire game. It was hard for the Wildcats to generate any offense, especially in the second half.
“Greensburg defended us very well,” Adams said. “They were out in the passing lanes making it tough for us to run our offense.”
Abby Orschell again led the Wildcats with14 points. Jenna Orschell had four points. Greensburg was led by Aliyah Evans with 16. Micha Morrison added 10 points.
The Lady Wildcats travel to Connersville Friday night for an EIAC encounter with the Lady Spartans. They then return home Saturday night hosting Hagerstown.