FRANKLIN — It took a while for the Lady Lion offense to get going in both the semifinal and final games Saturday at the 19th annual Franklin Lady Cub Classic. The Lady Lions found their rhythm in second half of both games and went on to claim the tourney title.
In the title game, the Lady Lions faced host Franklin. After leading by six in a low scoring first half, the Lady Lions outscored the Lady Cubs 35-28 in the second half to win 53-40.
The teams combined to score just nine points in the first eight minutes. Mackenzie Campbell opened the scoring with a bucket and Makayla Herbert hit two free throws to push the early lead to 4-0. After Franklin knotted the game at 4-4, a Campbell free throw made it 5-4 after one quarter.
The charity stripe was key for the Lady Lions. Rushville connected on 29-of-35 from the charity stripe in the game.
Franklin’s Julia Smith scored to open the second quarter to give the Lady Cubs their only lead of the game. Rushville went on a 9-1 run. Keragan Niehoff had six straight points and Kelsi Ash’s traditional three-point play made it 14-7.
The Lady Cubs closed to within four at 16-12, but a Campbell bucket closed the half with Rushville leading 18-12.
Niehoff opened the second half with a free throw (one of eight for the Lady Lions in the frame). Franklin got a bucket by Tara Parmer to cut the deficit to five. That was as close as the Lady Cubs would get the rest of the quarter. The lead hit 10 points at 26-16 on a Campbell free throw, 29-19 on a bucket by Herbert, and at 34-24 at the end of the quarter on another bucket by Campbell.
The Lady Lions feasted at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter – scoring 17 of the 19 points in the final eight minute session. Campbell hit eight of her 10 points from the line and freshman Kaitlyn Howe connected on 6-of-6 from the line as the Lady Lions claimed the title 53-40.