After a slow start, the Franklin County Lady Wildcats won the third quarter of action and tied the fourth quarter during the pre-season scrimmage with visiting Edinburgh Saturday afternoon, Nov. 2.

Senior Kairee Hodapp and sophomore Alex Gillman got hot in the third quarter, combining for the team's 11 points. The Lady Lancers scored nine points in the same 12-minute quarter.

“We got better as the game went on,” FC coach Joe Adams said. “I think we play a little better the quicker we go. We speeded up when we put on the press. I think we looked better in that environment than when we tried to run the half-court offense. I think we do better at a frenetic pace.
“Everything looks better when you put balls in the basket,” he continued. “Your defense looks better; your effort looks better when you put the ball in the basket.”

Hodapp started the team's scoring in the third quarter with a putback at the 9:05 mark, tying the score 2-2. She made a field goal a couple of minutes later to tie the score again, 4-4.

Gillman then gave FC a lead as she drove to the basket. She was fouled on the attempt but with the scrimmage, no free throws were attempted except in the quarters' final minute.

Gillman again made a field goal and was hacked in the attempt to again put the Wildcats in the lead, 8-7. Gillman made the team's final field goal with 30 seconds left to put the Wildcats in the lead for good, 10-9. She hit the front end of a one-and-one with 15 seconds left for the quarter's final score.

In the final quarter for the varsity, Hodapp caught fire from the outside. She made the team's first four points as the two teams tied 14-14. 

“She's going to have to hit some shots for us to open up inside so we can continue to drive and score points,” Adams said. “Her form (on the perimeter jumper) looked good.”

Had it been a regular game, the Wildcats would not have continued to put the ball up with the lead and the clock winding down, but the Wildcats continued to work on the offense as the final score in a scrimmage is meaningless.

The first two quarters were forgettable. The Wildcats could not find the range on their shots during the first two quarters.

In the scrimmage, the varsity teams played four, 12-minute quarters with a running clock until the last minute. Fouls were called but free throws were not awarded until the last minute of each quarter. Then, the free throws were one-and-a-bonus no matter what the specifics of the foul entailed.

FC won the junior varsity's fifth quarter 11-6.

In the first two varsity quarters, the Lancers won 13-7 and 11-3.

FC's icy touch was played out in the final team statistics. In the first two quarters, the Wildcats were 2-24 from two point range and 2-10 from behind the three-point arc.

“We did not shoot well at all,” Adams said.

According to Adams, his players seemed nervous and tentative in the scrimmage's first 24 minutes.

But that turned around in the final two varsity quarters. The Wildcats were 12-29 for 41 percent. In the same time span, the Lancers were 7-17 (41 percent) for two-pointers and 1-9 (11 percent) behind the arc.

With many of the balls clanging off the rims, there was plenty of opportunity for rebounds. The two teams combined for 83 boards. The teams were about evenly split in rebounds with the Lancers recording 42 and the Wildcats with one less at 41.

“I would have liked to see us box out a little bit better and finish the possession more,” Adams said. “It's something we are going to have to worry about because we don't have much height. But, I thought our effort was there, which is the thing you really want to see. Our effort was good, but it's just being able to put things together.”

Adams said he expects his players to improve as the season goes on. He called the scrimmage Game Zero.

“So, if we look like this at Game 20, I'll be a little worried,” Adams said. “We have to be happy about the positives, focus on the negatives and turn those negatives into positives.”

Adams was impressed with Edinburgh's play. The Lancers sport a half-dozen seniors.

“They do some good stuff too,” Adams said. “It's a good team to get us ready for the season.”

One good attribute for the Wildcats is they are deep on the bench. When substitutions were made, there was not a discernible loss of talent or effort.

“That is something that's going to help us,” Adams said. “(Sophomore) Jenna Bruns did a lot of good things for us off the bench. I think she could do some really good things for us.”

FC's offense last season was initiated by Abby Orschell. She graduated. Gillman and senior Ashlan Hill both seemed more than ready to dribble penetrate and take the abuse from the defense that comes with it.

FC opens its season Friday, Nov. 8 by hosting Rising Sun.