The Franklin Lady Rebels basketball team swept the regular season series over Centennial Lady Cougars 57-39 at home on Friday night.
“Centennial is our biggest rival and always has been,” said junior post player Kate O’Neil. “Having won is a big deal, because we played really hard.”
“It is just good to get a win,” said Franklin head coach Jay Johnson. “I am happy for the girls. They played hard tonight. Our bench did a good job keeping us in the game when we were in foul trouble.”
In the first quarter, it was a back and forth contest, with Centennial holding the slight edge 14-13.
Franklin was able to collect some separation, thanks to the combination of three pointers from sophomore Bergen Allee and the post play of junior Kate O’Neil to give the Lady Rebels the lead 28-23 in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, O’Neil and Allee continued to throw a party from behind the arc and in the paint to extend the lead 44-29.
The Lady Rebels closed out strong in the fourth quarter with stout defense and supporting role contributions from sophomore Lauren McKnight, juniors Brenna Swiger and Regina Hammond, and freshman Lyla Gardner to secure the win 57-39.
“We had to switch into a 2/3 zone because we did a lot of fouling,” said O’Neil. “We tried our best to keep them from switching it and driving it, along with keeping them off the boards.”
“We haven’t played the 2/3 defense in several weeks,” said Coach Johnson. “It was good for us, and we stuck with it most of the game.”
The Lady Rebels leading scorers were O’Neil with 25 points and Allee adding 16.
“We put in a couple of new things this week to get both of them some more shots,” said Johnson. “If we are going to be successful, both of them have to score.”
“With me being in the post, a lot (of opportunities) come from guards getting me the ball and looking at me when I give them good passes," said O’Neil. “I would not have been able to put up those numbers if Lyla (Gardner) had not had 9 assists.”
Centennial’s leading scorer was sophomore Sheraton Foster with 19 points.
Centennial will face Spring Hill on the road next Tuesday.
Franklin will face Summit at home next Tuesday, seeing a familiar face in Coach John Wild, the former Lady Rebels coach.
“It is a big rivalry because he (Coach Wild) used to be our head coach and is really good,” said O’Neil. “It will be tough.”
“It will be a different Summit team with Ellie (Colson) back for him,” said Coach Johnson. “We will have to watch a lot of tape and be prepared for something different this time.”