By Carey Phillips
Franklin took a big lead early in the game and made it stand up for a 59-52 Mountain Six Conference women’s basketball win over Smoky Mountain at Franklin on Jan. 27.
Tori Ensley scored 17 points for the Lady Panthers. Sydney Williams and Canaan Drake both added 13.
Natalie Parris paced the Lady Mustangs with 15 points. Kennedy Stewman followed with 12, and Macy Wike had 10.
“They got up on us early,” Coach Ollin Dunford said. “We fought hard and got back in it, but that deficit in the first quarter never went away. I commend the girls for the effort they put out. When it’s all said and done, it was that deficit we got ourselves into in the first quarter.”
Kandice Parker scored four early points as Franklin jumped to a 14-2 lead after Nevaeh Tran’s three-pointer with 1:25 to play in the first quarter, which ended 14-6.
The Lady Panthers’ scoring pace slowed in the second period, and they were up 20-13 at halftime.
Greenlee Flynn’s three-point play cut the gap to 25-22 with 4:27 to play in the third quarter.
The Lady Panthers were on top 37-30 going into the fourth period.
Consecutive three-pointers by Ensley and Tran pushed the lead to 45-32 with 5:36 on the clock.
The closest SM came the rest of the way was 47-41 on Parris’ three-pointer at the 2:43 mark.
Parris made two field goals, including a three-pointers, and was 10 of 12 from the line. Stewman hit five field goals, including a three-pointer, and a foul shot. All three of Wike’s field goals were treys to go with a free throw.
Flynn netted six points, Xaila Spencer totaled four, Addison Buchanan scored three and Hannah Huddleston had two.
Flynn pulled down 10 rebounds. Parris and Aiden Nicholson both came up with four steals.
The Lady Panther JVs won 25-19. They led at quarter breaks by scores of 2-0, 13-8 and 22-11.
Ali Fortner scored eight for the Lady Mustangs.
“The whole team played great,” Coach Jason Melvin said. “This is the most energy we have had. We made several mistakes, but we really hustled to make up for each one. We still need to improve in our decision-making, make better passes and take higher quality shots, but we are moving in the right direction.”