CENTERVILLE – Up until the season’s fourth game, Franklin County’s offense has struggled.

But the fourth time was the charm as a swarming, full-court press and a 1-3-1 half-court trap completely muzzled the Centerville Lady Bulldogs Saturday night, Nov. 16. FC came away from the Town of Antiques with an 82-31 victory to go 2-2 on the young season.

When FC coach Joe Adams unleashed the two defenses – the half court at the game’s beginning and the full-court press a few minutes into the initial quarter – it totally changed the game.

Centerville held a one-point lead, 7-6, with 4:11 left to play in the first quarter.

Centerville did not score again until there were 40 seconds left in the first half. In that almost 12-minute time span, the Wildcats poured in 40 points.
When Centerville junior Emily Tedder nailed a trey with 40 seconds left, the Wildcats held a 47-10 advantage.

“When your defense can turn into offense, it makes the game a lot easier,” Adams said. “Not to mention, getting some easy looks off of steals makes it easier to run your half-court offense.

“We’ve worked a little bit on the 1-3-1, so we wanted to start the game in it just to see how Centerville would react,” Adams continued. “It’s still a work in progress. Our zone press was really effective though. We got off to a slow start offensively, and our zone press allowed us to get some easy baskets and get into a rhythm offensively.”

For many minutes, the Bulldogs could not get the ball past half court throwing wild passes or just allowing the ball to get away beneath the Wildcat basket.
Easy Wildcat layups were the result.

At one point, Centerville coach Max Smith uttered “For the Love of God.”

He also implored his Bulldogs to take the entire 10 seconds allowed to get the ball beyond the half-court line instead of panicking and turning the ball over.
Centerville made 39 turnovers in a 32-minute game.

Adams said the 40-point unanswered run was due entirely to the press.

“We started out down 7-6 and decided to change up defensively,” Adams said. “We sometimes get off to a slow start, and I think pressuring teams full court is going to allow us to get into the flow of the game much quicker. Based on what we had seen on film, we expected Centerville to struggle some with our full-court press. Our seniors did an excellent job of turning up the pressure and forcing turnovers. (Kairee) Hodapp, (Taylor) McCreary, and (Ashlan) Hill not only forced multiple turnovers but then converted them into scores, as well.”

Adams did not run up the score. To start the second half, Adams emptied his bench, sitting many of the starters for the entire half. Underclassman heldcourt for the final 16 minutes.

“It’s nice when you can get a chance to get multiple freshmen into the game to get some varsity experience,” Adams said. “It’s experience that’s only going to help them when they are full time on varsity and being depended on to provide meaningful minutes.”

And the youthful Wildcats continued to expand the Wildcat lead, outscoring the host Bulldogs 15-13 in the third quarter and 16-8 in the final eight minutes.

Freshman Macy Crain was one Wildcat who got to play quite a bit of the game. She led all scorers with 18 points.

Senior Ahlan Hill who played just the first 16 minutes, ended up with 13 points. Many of her points came off steals during the press.

Every Wildcat who played, scored multiple points with the minimum being four and that was held by three different players. And every Wildcat who played also snared at least one rebound.

“With any team that’s good, it has to start with the seniors,” Adams said. “I thought against Centerville, it started with our seniors. Their effort level went up a notch, and it forced Centerville into committing a lot of mistakes. This is an effort level that will have to be sustained throughout the season, and if it is, it’s going to lead to a lot of good wins for us.”

Senior Taylor McCreary had eight points while senior Kairee Hodapp and junior Kloe Bolos finished with seven points each.
As well as leading the game in scoring, Crain also led the game in rebounding with nine, just barely missing a double, double.
Emma Cabezuelo was second on the team with seven boards.

Steals were important in this game. McCreary led the team with seven steals, and two Wildcats each had six steals, Bolos and Hodapp.
FC’s next opponent is Friday night, Nov. 22 when the Wildcats play host to a very talented and tall Union County team. The Lady Patriots are 3-0 on the season. They had a game at unbeaten Northeastern Tuesday night, Nov. 19. Results were unavailable at press time.

Centerville fell to 0-4 on the season and travels to Muncie Burris on Wednesday, Nov. 20.