BROOKVILLE – The 2020-21 basketball season got underway for a pair of youthful Franklin County girls programs last Thursday as the Oldenburg Academy Twisters paid a visit to Franklin County High School.

The two teams combined for a total of four seniors and at least five freshmen played healthy minutes in a game that saw the hosts outlast their intra-county rivals by a 42-23 count.

“I was very happy with our overall effort throughout the game, especially for a pretty young varsity squad,” remarked Joe Adams, beginning his third year in charge of the Wildcats.

Oldenburg, starting anew with head coach Eric Feller, trailed by as many as 13 points late in the first half but whittled the lead to 25-18 on a basket by 9th-grader Rachel Lamping at 2:05 in the third quarter ahead of an FC timeout. However, the Wildcats finished strong with a 17-5 run to post their first win.

The first period was rough, both from an offensive and officiating standpoint. After eight minutes, the referee crew had called 14 fouls (8 FC, 6 OA) – almost triple the total points scored as the home team led 5-0.

“It felt like the refs came out of the gate looking to call it close,” shared Adams. “Maybe that was an emphasis from the IHSAA in the offseason but the number of touch fouls put us in an early predicament – it forced us to go to zone to protect some starters from picking up a third foul in the first half.”
That wasn't fully achieved as 5-foot-11 sophomore Macy Crain was sidelined with three personals, as was reserve soph Kiersten Schell, before intermission.

Still, a free throw by junior Anne Becker made it 19-6 in favor of FC with 30 seconds left in the half. OA freshman Ellie Ryan hit a late bucket to cut the lead to 11. Points, though, were hard to come by for the visitors, who were shut out until freshman Kate Weber's 3-pointer with two minutes gone in the second frame.

“I was very pleased with our defensive effort,” said Adams, “but obviously, as the season goes along, that effort will have to improve continuously.”
Following the slow start, the Wildcat offense had a good accounting, particularly a stretch to start the fourth quarter. A seven-point lead ballooned to 20 on three field goals from junior Jenna Bruns, including a trey, and back-to-back triples by sophomore Josie Rolfes.

“Josie's always been able to shoot the ball and I think that was pretty obvious last night, with her getting more shot opportunities,” said Adams. “We're definitely looking for her to make outside shots for us, which was our biggest missing piece to last season's team.

“Jenna also scored well for us and she'll be another player we lean on to lead us in scoring some nights,” he added.

Rolfes started her game-high night (19 pts.) with a three off a Bruns assist, though seven more fouls were called before Crain's two free throws provided the stanza's only other points. Five personals and four missed charities rounded out the quarter.

The game-starting run built to 11 on freshman Nicole Mears' three points and another Rolfes three-ball. She would add a third minutes later.
Five points from junior Ava Allen had Adams calling timeout to settle his troops, though they held a comfortable 10-point lead. Senior Abby Haverkos answered two Rolfes foul shots with a 3-pointer.

FC led 38-18 with 4:31 remaining as substitutes trickled in for both sides. Mears had 10 rebounds in her varsity debut and senior Camryn Brewer added 6. Sophomore Kassidy Schell dished out 4 assists. The Cats committed 17 turnovers. Rolfes added 3 steals.
Earlier, FC completed the front end of the sweep as the reserves won 37-24. Lauren Stacy led with 9 points and Kylie Lea chipped in 8.

Scoring

OA (0-1) – Lamping 2, Pam Meneses 2, Haverkos 3 (3), Allen 5 (3), Weber 6 (3), Ryan 2, Ashley Borgman 2, Sadie Wachsmann 1.
FC (1-0) - Rolfes 19 (5-3s), Crain 4, Alex Gillman 2, Bruns 11 (3), Mears 4, Becker 1, Stacy 1.