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STORY BY CHIP CIRILLO | PHOTOS BY WHITNEY JARRELD 

Good defense and patient offense added up to a lopsided win for Nolensville.

The Lady Knights held Franklin to single digits in each of the first three quarters en route to a 49-24 win at Nolensville on Tuesday night.

“We knew Franklin was really good with the dribble handoffs and the dribble-drive offense, and we really focused on how to guard that,” Nolensville coach Chris Ladd said. “The main thing is stay in front of the ball and we’ve got some pretty good guards that can do that. So, we really focused on not letting them in the paint, moving our feet mainly and switching some screens when we needed to.”

Franklin shot just 18-percent from the floor, including 1 of 18 from 3-point range. Freshman Sydney Ryan scored seven points, but she was 1 of 11 from beyond the arc.

Zoe Piller, a 6-foot sophomore post, led the Lady Knights (5-4) with 15 points. Point guard Parker Leftwich scored 13 and Grace Baird added 10 – six below her average as Franklin’s defense focused on containing her.

Nolensville won for the third time in four games, all against District 11-AAA opponents.

“We were pretty slow at the beginning because two of our starters were hurt, but now we are getting better during practice and I think it’s really showing on the court,” Piller said. “And I think we’re going to get better after every game.”

Leftwich (foot) and Caymin Ladd (sprained ankle) have both returned to the lineup.

Franklin (5-5) trailed 9-6 after the first quarter, but Nolensville outscored the Lady Rebels 27-6 during the next two quarters.

“We’ve got to be better protectors of the basketball, number one,” Franklin coach John Wild said. “We’ve got to value possessions. We’re still turning it over too many times and it all starts with that offensively.”

Franklin made 13 turnovers. Wild wants the Lady Rebels to make simple passes, not complex ones.

Franklin lost its second straight by a double-digit margin. The Lady Rebels lost three starters from last year’s 28-3 Region 6-AAA semifinalist.

Nolensville fell one win short of the Class AA tournament last March, but Wild thinks the third-year program might make it to Murfreesboro this season.

“I think they’re a team that’s got a chance to get in the AA state tournament,” Wild said. “Baird’s a nice player, Piller’s a nice player inside, Ladd shoots it really well and they’ve got a point guard that can really control the game. And when you’ve got those things going for you, I think they’ve got a chance of going deep in the tournament.”

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