By Carey Phillips
Seventh-seeded Franklin scored 19 points starting late in the third quarter and went on to defeat 26th-seeded Smoky Mountain 49-30 in the first round of the state 2-A women’s basketball playoffs Feb. 25 at Franklin.
Sydney Williams scored 12 points for the Lady Panthers, and Chela Green had 11.
Lucy McRae had 10 points for the Lady Mustangs, who ended the season 13-12.
“Defensively, we were sticking with them, but we just couldn’t do anything offensively,” Coach Ollin Dunford said. “It seemed like we were in an offensive shell that we couldn’t shoot our way out of.”
This was the fourth time Franklin defeated SM this season.
“It’s hard to beat a team three times, let alone four,” Dunford said. “I thought we were going to go over there and take care of business. We were healthy and had all of our players who had been sick back.”
Aubrie Miller opened the scoring with a three-pointer for the Lady Mustangs.
The Lady Panthers finished the first quarter on an 8-2 run and led 8-5 after Sierra Wade’s three-pointer with 2:24 on the clock.
Eight straight points, the last five by Green, gave Franklin an 18-9 advantage with 1:06 to go in the half, which ended with the score 18-10.
SM was within 25-21 on McRae’s two foul shots with 1:40 to go in the third period.
The Lady Panthers began their run with the final seven points of the quarter, including a basket by Green at the buzzer, for a 32-21 lead.
They went on to reel off the fourth period’s first 12 points, including five by Nevaeh Tran, for a 44-21 lead at the 4:23 mark.
McRae hit two field goals, including a three-pointer, and five foul shots.
Miller added six points, Aiden Nicholson scored four, Macy Wike, Natalie Parris, Hannah Huddleston and Alisha Hall all had two, and Kevonna Tushka and Allison Macke both made a foul shot.