Coming off their 13th District victories over the Logan County Cougars, the Franklin-Simpson Wildcats basketball teams played their first of back to back Friday/Saturday varsity doubleheaders this season that started Saturday afternoon at the Greenwood Gators.
Lady Gators 68, Lady Cats 65In a highly anticipated matchup of two of the top four teams in the 4th Region’s Media Poll, Franklin-Simpson and Greenwood battled for 32 minutes as it would be the Lady Gators holding on for the three-point victory.
“This game was a back and forth battle,” Lady Cats’ head coach Ash ey Taylor said. “Down the stretch, I thought Greenwood executed more than we did. Every possession matters in a ball game like this. We either turned the ball over or did not get the shot we wanted. That is part of our learning process and that’s why we play these games.
The Lady Cats had a big 1st Quarter as juniors Lee Lee Partinger and Hadley Turner combined to score 15 points with returning senior Alera Barbee adding five. They jumped out to a quick 12-2 lead early on but the Lady Gators responded to lead 24-20 at the end of one led by sophomore Leia Trinh’s nine points and six points from senior Olivia Lovell.
Franklin-Simpson had a big 2nd Quarter as Turner scored 11 points with Barbee adding nine as they opened the quarter by scoring 14 unanswered points. Partinger and freshman Jasmine Savage each scored two points as they outscored Greenwood 24-12 for a 44-36 lead at halftime.
Both teams played evenly in the 3rd Quarter as sophomore Katelyn McAlister knocked down a 3-pointer with Barbee, junior Ashanti Johnson, Partinger and Turner each spring two points. Trinh along with senior Olivia Overmohle each scored four points as the Lady Cats led 55-48 at the end of the third.
The lead changed hands several times in the 4th Quarter as Barbee scored seven points but they were outscored 20-10 by Greenwood. Trinh scored nine points with key 3-pointers made by senior Kiley Elzy and Lovell. Franklin-Simpson’s game tying 3-pointer as time expired was off the mark to lose 68-65.
“I feel like Greenwood will make it to the region and this could be a team we could see again later down the road,” Taylor said. “If we do see them again, we’ll have to adapt, change a few things and work at it from there.”
Alera Barbee scored a team high of 23 points for the Lady Cats with Hadley Turner scoring 21 points and 13 points from Lee Lee Partinger. Leia Trinh scored a game high of 28 points with 16 points from Olivia Lovell for the Lady Gators.
“Our defense was good. I felt like we got into (Leia) Trinh’s legs a bit especially when she missed more free throws than normal but she can play,” Taylor said. “We were able to do what we wanted to do in the 1st Half but in the 2nd Half, we missed some shots and we let that determine how we play and we can’t do that. We got to be able to stick those shots. This is high school basketball and we have to be able to score.”
Gators 81, Wildcats 60Franklin-Simpson couldn’t get into any type of flow and rhythm as they fell into a big deficit early on and couldn’t overcome it to lose by 21 points to Greenwood.
“Got to give them credit. Greenwood was more physical than us and they jumped on us,” Wildcats’ head coach Dee Spencer said. “We missed a bunch of shots around the basket and we just got to do better.”
Returning senior Andreyas Miller scored all six points for the Wildcats in the 1st Quarter. Junior Brakton Stinnett, who made a 3-pointer scored nine points along with junior Lofton Howard burying one as well for the Gators. Junior Aaron Brown scored on a traditional three-point play as they led 16-6 at the end of the first.
Miller scored seven points in the 2nd Quarter with junior Gabe Jones, who knocked down his first 3-pointer of the game, scoring five points and junior Connor Vincent adding four for Franklin-Simpson. Greenwood junior Luke Stansbury made two 3-pointers for seven points with four points each from Howard and senior Cade Stinnett for a 34-24 lead at halftime.
The Wildcats mounted a furious comeback as they cut their deficit down to five points at one point in the 3rd Quarter with sophomore O,J, Gamble and Vincent each scoring a basket and Miller scoring 15 of the team’s 20 points. The Gators responded with nine points from Cade Stinnett and seven points from senior Hunter Raymer as they led 53-44 at the end of the third.
Gamble scored six points for Franklin-Simpson with Miller draining a 3-pointer in the 4th Quarter. Greenwood closed the game with 28 points in the quarter as Raymer scored a team high of nine points with four points from Brown and Brakton Stinnett for the 81-60 victory.
“When you are playing against a high level team, you better come ready to play,” Spencer said. “We have to be able to step up to the level of competition. That team has ambitions of winning the region. We have to match that when we play these teams. We got to do a better job of competing. We competed but we needed to do that for all 32 minutes.”
Andreyas Miller scored a game high of 31 points as he was the only player for the Wildcats that scored in double figures.
Hunter Raymer and Cade Stinnett each scored 16 points for the Gators with Brakton Stinnett adding 13 points and Luke Stansbury with 11.
Franklin-Simpson will play their third 13th District game of the season as they will be at the Russellville Panthers in a very highly anticipated girls/boys varsity doubleheader that begins at 6 p.m.
WFKN Radio will broadcast the games starting at around 5:50 p.m. The game can also be heard on the internet by going to www.franklinfavorite.com and click on the WFKN tab in the blue toolbar. Then click on the WFKN Sports tab and press the play button.