The Franklin-Simpson Lady Cats earned their first 13th district win of the season with a 44-34 victory over the Russellville Lady Panthers.

"It's never easy to play or get a win over here at Russellville but it sure is fun," Lady Cats head coach Lex Lindsey said. "The kids were locked in. I like that they were focused, liked their execution and may possibly be the best game we played this year. This win is a big confidence builder. We still have a lot of basketball left but if the postseason started today, Russellville is who we would play right here on their home floor."

Franklin-Simpson is 1-1 in district play, 6-6 overall for the season as Russellville suffered their first loss in their first district game played and dropped to 9-4 for the season.

The Lady Panthers took an early lead on a basket by sophomore Anastasia Dowlen's basket but senior Evyn McCutchen's 3-pointer led the Lady Cats to a 7-0 run for a 7-2 lead. Later in the quarter, freshman Hadley Turner went out of the game with an injury as she injured her leg trying to defend Dowlen. McCutchen scored seven points with juniors Alera Barbee and Kate Norwood scoring baskets as Franklin-Simpson led 11-8 at the end of the first.

The game was a little more rough and scrappy as both teams were playing hard defense with scoring coming at a premium. Freshman Jordan Morris scored five points for Russellville with freshman Amiyah Collier adding two points. Barbee scored four points with freshman Ashanti Johnson scoring a basket for Franklin-Simpson as they led 17-15 at halftime.

The lead changed hands twice quickly in the 3rd Quarter as junior Chloe Whitescarver's 3-pointer gave the Lady Panthers an 18-17 lead but Norwood's jumper gave the lead right back to the Lady Cats 19-18. Later in the quarter, Whitescarver's second 3-pointer of the game tied the game at 23-23. Collier's basket briefly gave Russellville a 24-23 lead but McCutchen's free throw and freshman Conleigh Wilson's put back off a missed shot gave Franklin-Simpson a 26-25 lead after three.

The Lady Cats imposed their will on the Lady Panthers in the fourth. Leading by three, 30-27, Norwood's 3-pointer led to her scoring five straight points and with Barbee's basket gave them a 37-29 lead. But Franklin-Simpson suffered another injury as Norwood hurt her leg battling for a loose ball. With two key players out, they were able to hold on as McCutchen and Wilson made free throws down the stretch as the Lady Cats defeated Russellville 44-34.

"We came out and hit a few shots early and played with the lead for most of the night," Lindsey said. "Down the stretch when they went man to man defense, we got some pretty good looks. And then we made our free throws, seven out of 10 in the 4th Quarter. That is very uncharacteristic for us and when you make what we did in the fourth, that gives you a chance."

Alera Barbee led all scorers with a game high of 14 points with Evyn McCutchen adding 11 for the Lady Cats.

"Tonight's game was a dogfight. It was more of a football game out there," Alera Barbee said. "We were pushed around but we fought through it. Hadley (Turner) had to sit out early and Kate (Norwood) sat out late but

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we worked well together in the game and that's why we won."

The Lady Panthers were led by nine points each by Amiyah Collier and Jordan Morris as no player scored in double figures.

"It's a really big win for us," Conleigh Wilson said. "We talked before the game that we haven't won here in a long time. We came out and executed and played well together. We focused on taking away their two best players in (Amiyah) Collier and (Anastasia) Dowlen and we did that with Ashanti (Johnson) and on Collier and for most of the game Da'Myah (Hopson) on Dowlen."

"Da'Myah came to us and said that she wants to guard Dowlen. I told her that you got her and when a player comes in and says that, that was very encouraging and she locked her down," Lindsey said. "Also, Ashanti locked down Collier so overall, this was a good team effort."

The Lady Cats are back in action again next Friday night as part of a girls/boys 13th District doubleheader at Todd County Central. The girls' game begins at 6:00 p.m. and 1220 WFKN Franklin radio will broadcast the doubleheader games beginning at 5:45 p.m. and on the internet at www.franklinfavorite.com and click on the WFKN tab in the blue toolbar. Click on the WFKN sports tab and press the play button.

Scoring Summary

F-S 11 6 9 18 44

RHS 8 7 10 9 34

F-S (44) Barbee 14, McCutchen 11,

Norwood 9, Wilson 8, Johnson 2

RHS (34) Collier 9. Morris 9, Dowlen 8,

Whitescarver 6, Hines 2

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