With the Franklin-Simpson Lady Cats’ 53-31 victory over the Russellville Lady Panthers last Friday night in Russellville, they have clinched at least a share of the 13th District regular season championship.
“I thought tonight was a complete game from beginning to the end,” Lady Cats head coach Ashley Taylor said. “We knew we didn’t play well on Tuesday at Warren East and we have been working hard the past couple of days. Tonight, they came out and executed exactly what we have been doing.”
The Lady Cats are 4-1 in 13th District play, 7-5 overall for the season. The Lady Rebels are 2-2 in the district with the Lady Panthers 2-3 in district play and the Logan County Lady Cougars having a district record of 1-3. They can clinch the championship outright with a win over the Todd County Central Lady Rebels on Friday night.
“Our last game with them (Todd County Central) was kind of rough,” Kate Norwood said. “We have been working hard and since that game, we have changed a lot of things up so I feel like we will be ready for them when we play, Plus, we have Damyah (Hopson), our defensive specialist, playing that game . She didn’t play the last time with us but she along with everybody else will be ready for this one.’
Two free throws by senior Chloe Whitescarver gave Russellville an early lead. Back to back 3-pointers from senior Kate Norwood followed by baskets from senior Alera Barbee gave Franklin-Simpson a 10-4 lead at the end of the first.
The 2nd Quarter opened with sophomore Hadley Turner’s traditional three-point play and back to back 3-pointers from Norwood and sophomore Conleigh Wilson gave the Lady Cats a 19-6 lead. Franklin-Simpson turned up the defensive pressure and forced turnovers that helped them close the 1st half on a 12-2 run with Barbee scoring four points and three each from Norwood and sophomore Le Le Partinger as they took a 31-13 lead into halftime.
Lady Panthers’ junior Anastasia Dowlen scored four points in the 3rd Quarter but the Lady Cats extended their lead to as high as 23 points. Norwood, who sank her fourth 3-pointer of the game, scored seven points with four points from Turner and two from Barbee gave Franklin-Simpson a 44-22 lead at the end of three.
Dowlen scored six points with Whitescarver adding two for Russellville in the 4th Quarter but freshman Katelyn McAlister drained a 3-pointer, the seventh of the game for the Lady Cats. Barbee scored four points with Norwood adding two as Franklin-Simpson secured at least a tie for the 13th District regular season championship with a 53-31 victory.
“We pretty much executed on both sides of the ball,” Alera Barbee saud. “We went over everything in our walk through and tonight, we finally came out and played all four quarters. We played the whole game, didn’t dig ourselves into a hole and we kept playing.”
“We three, myself, Alera (Barbee) and Kate (Norwood), have to be the leaders on the team when it comes to offense,” Hadley Turner said. “When our seniors leave next year, I have to step up big. Myself along with Damyah (Hopson), Ashanti (Johnson) and Le Le (Partinger) will have to be the leaders on the team and execute.”
Kate Norwood scored a game high of 21 points with Alera Barbee adding 14 points and Hadley Turner with nine for the Lady Cats.
“We as a coaching staff took on the task of figuring out how we can get better shots for Alera (Barbee), Hadley (Turner) and Kate (Norwood),” Taylor said. “We know that they can shoot and score so it is on us to get them better shots and we re teaching them how to play in what we are trying to do. They have worked their tails off and tonight was the result of their hard work.”
Anastasia Dowlen led the Lady Panthers with 14 points as she was the only player that scored in double figures.
“Hadley (Turner) played her tail off tonight against (Anastasia) Dowlen,” Taylor said. “We are asking her a lot to do things on offense but on defense, she had to go out and guard her. Plus, we had some help to back her up and pressure their guards as well. It was a total team defensive effort tonight.”
Franklin-Simpson hosts the Todd County Central Rebels on Friday night at the F-S Gym with the 13th District regular season championship on the line.
Tip-off time is at 6 p.m. and 1220 WFKN Franklin radio will broadcast the game starting at around 5:50 p.m. and on the internet by going to www.franklinfavorite.com and click on the WFKN link in the blue toolbar. Then click on the WFKN Sports tab and press the play button.