Franklin advances to finals

Published 8:26 am Friday, February 20, 2009

DENDRON—Keshara Bradley scored 16 of her 23 points in the first half and Franklin stepped on the gas in the fourth quarter to drop Sussex Central 57-46 in the semifinals of the Tri-Rivers District Tournament Thursday night.

With the victory, Franklin advances to the district tournament championship game at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Surry against either Appomattox Regional Governor’s School or Surry County. The winner of that game was not available at press time.

Franklin led the entire first half thanks to Bradley. Bradley was red hot, pumping in 16 of Franklin’s 25 first half points, all of them on jumpers and 3-pointers.

Sussex had cut the Franklin lead to 15-13 in the second quarter with a bank shot by Libina Jackson and free throws by Tatiyana Calhoun and Jackson. The Lady Broncos responded and knocked the lead back to six when Bradley sunk two straight jumpers to give Franklin a 21-15 advantage with 3:22 to play in the half.

“We needed her (Bradley) to be on. She found her shot right at the right time,” said Mona Sumblin, Franklin head coach. “I said thank you for keeping us in the game. To win, you’ve got to shoot, and our other shooters weren’t.”

In the third quarter, Sussex turned things around with an 8-0 run in the middle of the period. The Lady Tigers tied the game at 30-30, and took a 39-37 lead into the fourth quarter on a bank shot by Jasmine Deloatch.

In the fourth quarter, Franklin turned up the tempo of the game, and Sussex became unglued. The Lady Broncos went into a full court press, causing turnovers and easy buckets. At the same time, the Lady Tigers missed 10 free throws in the fourth quarter.

“I didn’t want to use the press too early. I expected them to handle the press a little bit better,” Sumblin said.

Trailing 41-40, the Lady Broncos (17-3) took the lead and opened the game back up with a 11-point run in the middle of the fourth quarter, fueled by the press. When Timia Hobbs sunk a free throw with 4:21 left in the game, the Broncos led 51-41.

Sumblin said her team needs to run the ball more.

“We are not a slow down team. For whatever reason, we weren’t attacking. We need to make them come and get it,” she said.

Kiara Lee added 14 points for Franklin. Jackson scored 14 points and Calhoun added 12 points for Sussex.