Franklin defense plays big

Published 12:36 pm Wednesday, February 25, 2009

FRANKLIN—The old saying goes that the best offense is a great defense. That saying was true Tuesday night for the Franklin girls basketball team.

Although the Lady Broncos started the game out sluggishly, it didn’t matter. The Franklin defense created its own offense in a 57-32 win over Rappahannock in the quarterfinals of the Group A Region A Division I playoffs.

The Franklin girls advance to the semifinal round of the playoffs and will host either Appomattox Regional Governor’s School or Chincoteague on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. The game could be moved to 6:00 p.m., pending approval by the other team. The winner of that game will go to the Region A championship game at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Surry County High School.

Although Franklin led 14-5 at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Broncos played sluggish on offense. But at the same time, the Franklin defense prevented the Lady Raiders from taking good shots. Franklin scored the last five points of the first period on a layups by Timia Hobbs and Kiara Lee and a free throw by Sharmese Fleetwood.

With an 18-8 lead at 6:22 of the second quarter, Franklin head coach Mona Sumblin replaced all of her starters with reserves. Although the bench players did not score, they only allowed two points against Rappahannock’s starters. When Sumblin put the starters back in, it seemed to spark the team. Franklin (20-3) reeled off the next nine points to break the game open for good.

“I was really trying something with the group I put in so I can get another press team,” Sumblin said. “We were working on some defenses. I though we’d get some excitement going by running a man and getting them in the habit of going for the backside steal.”

Sumblin said her team did not come out strong to start the game.

“We’ve got to learn to not play according to who we are playing,” she said. “We can’t relax against teams that aren’t as skilled. I wanted them to push the ball. I didn’t want to press but that’s where we got our motivation from.”

Keshara Bradley led the Franklin offense with 13 points and Lee added 11. For Rappahannock, Megan Davis scored 12 points.