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Slow start, big finish for Lady Flyers over WHHS

Published 11:31 pm Saturday, January 26, 2013

Franklin County head coach Joey Thacker said the Lady Flyers looked lethargic when they entered a cross-town matchup with Western Hills on Friday night at Lapsley Cardwell Gymnasium.

But the slow start turned into a strong second-half effort as the Lady Flyers (18-6, 6-0) delivered a 60-34 victory over Western Hills on its homecoming night.

The effort was much better in the second half than in the first half, Thacker said. You cant be high maintenance as a player. I shouldnt have to come up with something to motivate you in every speech. Thats been the trend for us and it is almost February. Weve got to get out of that.

FCHS began the game with a 3-pointer by senior Raven Timmons. After her score, Western Hills took the ball down the floor and recorded four shot attempts from offensive rebounds but failed to make any baskets.

Junior Stephine Sparkman put WHHS (8-11, 0-4) on the scoreboard with a free throw, and then tied the game with a 2-pointer at 3-3in the first quarter. Freshman LaKenzie Ritchie added a second 2-pointer to give WHHS the lead 5-3.

But from there, FCHS started to regain its composure. Malaka Frank hit a free throw for the Lady Flyers and then Brittany Mello sank a 3-pointer for a 7-5 lead with 3 minutes to go in the first quarter. A free throw by Rebecca Cook and another 3-pointer by Mello, and the Lady Flyers took control 11-5.

We set the tempo, but we missed a free throw and a couple easy shots, WHHS coach Don Irvine said. Our inability to score takes the air out of you. It takes all the enthusiasm out.

The Lady Flyers ended the first quarter ahead 13-7. FCHS started the second quarter on a 7-0 run and entered the half with a 25-12 lead. The Lady Wolverines only had one field goal in the period with a 2-pointer by Sparkman.

We missed so many easy shots early, Thacker said of the Lady Flyers 17 missed shots in the first half. Weve got a tendency to drop our heads when that happens and youve got to keep playing. That with a combination of shooting the ball so poorly from the foul line in the first quarter didnt set a very good tone.

I didnt think we were bad defensively to hold them to 12 points in a half thats pretty good. We have to make free throw opportunities and transition layups.

After the first half, Thacker said he was pleased with the second-half effort. The Lady Flyers led 43-18 after the third quarter and went on to win the game by 26 points.

We had 20 turnovers, which isnt outrageous, but you add 20 to 25 percent shooting, Irvine said. Their length gives us trouble and their athleticism gives us trouble. They had 21 offensive rebounds and most of those they converted into baskets.

The Lady Flyers finished the game with 35.9 percent shooting from the field. Cook and Mello led FCHS with 11 points apiece, while Timmons chipped in eight points and 15 rebounds.

Hills Sparkman led both teams in scoring with 16 points, five rebounds and two steals. WHHS played at Danville 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

The Lady Flyers meet Bryan Station at FCHS Tuesday at 7:45 p.m.On Dec. 23, Bryan Station beat FCHS by 11 points in the Republic Bank Classic at Lexington Catholic.

The Lady Defenders (14-7) remain the only team to defeat Anderson County this year, which they did by two points in the Republic Bank Classic. When the Lady Flyers met Anderson County earlier this season, the Lady Bearcats triumphed 58-25 in the championship of the Staxx BBQ Capital City Showdown.

Weve got our hands full, Thacker.

FRANKLIN COUNTY (60) Nannilena White 4, Malaka Frank 5, Anna Arrastia 7, Rebecca Cook 11, Brittany Mello 11, Dasia Kilbourne 8, Raven Timmons 8, Angela Wickman 6.

WESTERN HILLS (34) Alexis True 4, LaKenzie Ritchie 2, Taylor Slade 4, Kimber Sutton 2, Stephine Sparkman 16, Aja Leachman 4, Becca Harrod 2.

Emily Patton: (502) 227-4556 EXT 264. Email: epatton@state-journal.com. Twitter: @pemily