By Aaron Kirchoff Rushville Republican
---- — 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.
Campbell led all scorers with 22 points. Niehoff was in double figures with 13. Franklin was led by Delanie Hill with 14 points.
Rushville 53, Franklin 40
Scoring: Rushville – Howe 0 0 8-8 8, Herbert 1 0 2-2 4, Campbell 5 0 12-14 22, Niehoff 4 0 5-8 13, K. Ash 2 0 1-1 5, Yager 0 0 1-2 1. Totals 12 0 29-35 53. Franklin – Ross 1 0 1-4 3, Kinsey 0 0 1-2 1, Parmer 2 1 0-2 7, Eads 1 2 1-2 9, Hill 3 2 2-4 14, Pleak 0 0 3-4 3, Smith 1 0 1-2 3. Totals 8 5 9-20 40.
It took the Lady Lions a full half to get going offensively. Fortunately for Rushville, the Lady Braves of Indian Creek were just as cold on the offensive end as the Lady Lions knocked off Indian Creek 43-26 in the semifinal game of the Lady Cub Classic in Franklin.
The Lady Lions scored just seven points in the first quarter. Mackenzie Campbell scored the opening bucket and Keragan Niehoff hit 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Indian Creek’s lone points came on a traditional three-point play by Candace Danz with :13.7 left in the first. After one quarter, the Lady Lions led 7-3.
Rushville pushed the lead to 15-3. Niehoff’s two free throws started the 8-0 run. Kaitlyn Howe scored on the break. That was followed by a Niehoff put back and two free throws by Campbell. Rushville did not score the final three minutes of the half. Indian Creek scored eight straight five from Danz and a late 3-pointer by Jessica Knight.
The Lady Lions led 15-11 at the half.
Rushville better the first half point total in the third quarter to pull away from the Lady Braves. Niehoff and Campbell combined to score the first five of the third. After Danz hit a 3-pointer for the Lady Braves, Rushville’s Campbell scored her 13th point of the game. That bucket was the one she needed to reach 1,000 career points, only the ninth Lady Lion to ever score over 1,000 in a career.
Campbell had 10 points in the quarter as the Lady Lions took control, leading 31-15 heading to the fourth.
Makayla Herbert opened the fourth with two from the charity stripe and two free throws by Kylie Martindale extended the lead to 18 points. Rushville grabbed a 41-21 lead as Lilly Cramer knocked down 2-of-3 free throws after being fouled on a triple attempt. Cramer’s drive to the bucket capped the scoring for Rushville as the Lady Lions advance to the title game with a 43-26 victory.
Danz led all scorers with 18 points. Campbell finished with 15 followed by Niehoff 12 (16 boards), Howe six, Herbert four, Cramer four and Martindale two.
The Lady Lions (9-3) travel to Franklin County (0-10) today.
Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222, ext. 114