FHS girls edge Lady Indians in thriller

Published 10:29 am Friday, December 4, 2009

FRANKLIN – Trailing by five points with 3:26 to play, Franklin clamped down on defense and rallied to beat Southampton 51-50 in a wild girls’ basketball game Thursday night.

The contest was the season opener for both teams.

The Lady Indians took a five-point lead with 3:26 to play in the game on a layup by Tenicia Joyner. Franklin got right back in the game when Keshara Bradley hit on a bank shot and Pashawn Hunt followed with a rebound and bucket inside to cut the Southampton lead to 47-46 with 2:22 to play.

The Lady Broncos went into a full court press and forced Southampton into two straight turnovers. With 1:35 to play, Franklin’s Mercedes Williams sunk a clutch 3-pointer to give the Lady Broncos a 49-47 lead.

Southampton’s Regina Artis followed with a jumper at 1:17 to tie the game at 49-49.

Franklin’s Shaletta Hicks missed a jumper, but came back on defense with a steal. Then Hicks missed a layup. But after a Southampton turnover, Hunt scored on an inside bucket to give Franklin the lead for good at 51-49 with 32 seconds to play.

The Lady Indians had a chance to tie the game with 11.7 seconds left to play when Franklin’s Bradley fouled Southampton’s Joyner. But Joyner hit on only one of two free throws and the Franklin lead stood at 51-50. The Lady Broncos then held on to the ball to run out the clock.

The game see-sawed in the first half. Franklin led 10-8 after the first quarter and the Lady Indians led 25-23 at the half. Southampton led by as many as six points in the third quarter.

Franklin was led by Bradley with 15 points, Kiara Lee with 14 points, and 10 points by Hunt. For the Lady Indians, Joyner led with 10 points and Artis scored nine points.

Southampton head coach Aronda Bell said the Lady Indians had trouble with Franklin’s press.

“We turned it over too may times. We didn’t handle the pressure at all, so that’s something we’re going to work on,” Bell said. “It can only get better.”

Bell said Southampton needed to work on boxing out and not giving up so many second opportunities.

Despite the crazy ending, Mona Sumblin, Franklin head coach was happy for the win.

“When I came in (to the locker room), I said remember this feeling. You dug it out and didn’t lose your composure. We’ve got to have this down the stretch in our district.”

The game continued the long line of battles between close rivals.

“I expected the game to be this way. This is going to be a grudge match and competition,” said Sumblin about the Franklin-Southampton rivalry. “This is bragging rights.”