STORY BY JAKE DONOVAN | PHOTO BY DEB SCALLY
Given the remaining regular season schedule, it’s entirely possible that Franklin won’t be able to make up much ground in the District 11-AAA standings.
That hasn’t stopped the Lady Rebels from sending a message that they can hang with anyone in the conference on any given night.
Franklin avenged an earlier season loss to Summit, scoring a pivotal 39-26 road victory Tuesday evening at Summit High School.
The rematch lacked the sustained momentum and last-second thrill that came with their first meeting, but also lacked the presence of Jilian King.
The Lady Rebels are 6-3 since the return of its senior playmaker, with two of the losses coming in nailbiters versus top-ranked Page and Dickson County. King contributed just three points and three assists on Tuesday, but the floor general has been an integral part in Franklin drastically reducing its turnovers, committing just 10 in the win.
Sophomore center Katie O’Neil posted a double-double, leading all scorers with 12 points and also pulling down 11 rebounds. Freshman swing Sydney Ryan was the lone other player in the game to reach double figures, adding 10 points—well below her season average (now at 17.4 points per game after Tuesday’s effort) but enough to contribute in the win.
Franklin never trailed on the night, quite a statement considering the low-scoring affair. The visiting Lady Rebels led just 9-7 after one, extending its lead after each quarter.
Extraordinarily talented junior Taylor Penning—who drained seven threes in a 21-point performance versus Franklin one month ago—was held to just nine points, enough to lead the Lady Spartans. Marli Andersen—the hero from the first meeting between these two teams—added eight but blanked in a 4th quarter where Franklin ultimately pulled away.
Franklin (8-6 in district play) will travel to Dickson County to face the second-place Lady Cougars in the final of a three-game road trip. The Lady Rebels will close the season at home versus Spring Hill next Tuesday.
Summit (9-5) faces a tall order in attempting to maintain its place in the current district rankings. The 3rd place Lady Spartans travel to Page High School for a Friday showdown with the 1st place Lady Patriots, before closing the season at home versus Dickson County next Tuesday.