Franklin girls hold off rival SHS

Published 10:49 pm Thursday, December 18, 2008

With just eight players on the roster, a scrappy Franklin High School girls’ basketball team dumped archrival Southampton High School 71-62 in non-district action Thursday night.

Franklin was missing two starters. Keshara Bradley was called for two technical fouls in Franklin’s previous game and was not available. Leading scorer Timia Hobbs was also not available due to an unspecified reason.

“We had to be scrappy, and Southampton is our archrival, and you expect that,” said Mona Sumblin, Franklin head coach.

Kiara Lee picked up the slack for the missing starters by pouring in 27 points. Pashawn Hunt scored 17 points, Mercedes Williams scored 13 points off the bench, and Iesha Boone added 11 points for Franklin.

The missing players didn’t seem to bother the Lady Broncos, who used a tight defense and full-court press to break open a close game in the fourth quarter. “The press is our strength. I didn’t know it was going to work that well, but thank goodness it did,” Sumblin said.

After a topsy-turvy third quarter that saw Southampton take the lead and Franklin retake it, the Lady Broncos led 49-46 going into the fourth quarter. With 7:25 left in the game, Franklin reeled off nine straight points to take control. Lee scored seven of those nine points with three drives and a free throw.

Franklin led 32-23 early in the third quarter on a jumper by Williams, but the Lady Redskins went on a 15-2 run to take a 40-34 lead with 3:18 to play in the quarter. Southampton’s defense caused several Franklin turnovers during the runs, and the Lady Indians took advantage of easy inside shots.

Just when it looked like Southampton (1-6) was going to open up the game, Franklin came back and finished the quarter with a 15-6 run to retake the lead. With 1:11 to play in the third quarter, Lee sank one of two free throws, but Boone grabbed the rebound on the second attempt and put one back for a 3-point play. With 28 seconds left in the period, Lee scored on a drive and was fouled. She converted the free throw to give Franklin a 49-46 lead.

Tanika Hudgins, Southampton’s first-year head coach, said her team didn’t take advantage of the third-quarter lead.

“We’re a young team. We just have to learn how to capitalize when it counts and make the sure shots and layup when it counts,” Hudgins said. “The bottom line is we’re getting better. They’ll learn from their mistakes.”

Samantha Urquhart led the Southampton attack with 24 points, while Ronnie Powell chipped in 15 points. Hudgins said she is looking for Urquhart to take more of the offensive load.

“I’m still looking for a little more from her. She’s working hard, sometimes a bit too hard and not getting what she needs to get,” Hudgins said. “I need her to play a role and put up the points we need. She’s got to carry the team.”

The two teams meet again at Southampton on Dec. 30.