Season well played
Published 11:54 am Thursday, February 28, 2013
RICHMOND Whether the Frankfort High Lady Panthers won or lost in the 11th Region Tournament will be forgotten. But the legacy the Lady Panthers five seniors are leaving behind wont be.
Although FHS fell 73-55 to Paul Laurence Dunbar in the first round of the regional tournament at Eastern Kentucky Universitys McBrayer Arena Wednesday night, the Lady Panthers left the locker room with dry eyes and cheeks.
You wont see a lot of crying in there, FHS head coach Deron Norman. The reason is because they have done everything Ive asked them to and have overachieved in a lot of areas. Everything theyve done this year, theyve set a goal for themselves. They went out fighting together and thats just what I expected them to do.
FHS fought from beginning to end, keeping the score within 10 points for the majority of the game. The Lady Bulldogs scored first with a 2-point basket by Jordin Fender with 7:05 on the clock. Her teammate Brooke Todd added another basket to give Dunbar a 4-0 advantage.
The Panthers tied the game at 6-6 with a basket by senior Shauntae Brown, followed by a basket and two free throws by her twin sister Shanae Brown. But Dunbar went on a 10-0 run in the middle of the first quarter before junior Cori Cunningham hit a 3-pointer to close the period, behind 22-13 to Dunbar.
In the second quarter, Shanae Brown stole the ball for a layup to begin play. The Lady Panthers pulled within four with a 3-pointer by Cunningham and then within one after a 7-0 spurt. Freshman BriAnna Burbridge hit the 3-pointer that made the score 31-30 in Dunbars favor. After her basket, the Lady Bulldogs went on a 5-0 run to close the quarter.
I thought we would make a run sometime, Norman said of the first half. They are very quick in the guard spot so they are very difficult to get into pressing situations. I thought we let them get to the basket a little too much in the first half, but I had the upmost confidence in the girls that they will make a run eventually no matter who we are playing. They are going to fight and thats exactly what they did.
Dunbar opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run and didnt let the Lady Panthers pull within 10 points until around three minutes to go in the period. Shauntae Brown hit a 3-pointer for a 48-38 Dunbar lead. The Lady Bulldogs closed the half on a 5-0 run and a 57-46 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
The Lady Panthers hovered around a 10-point deficit until there was four minutes to go when they closed it to seven after Burbridge sank a 2-point basket.
We had an opportunity to make a couple buckets there and we didnt, Norman said. They pulled a big girl out and we drove to the basket, but we didnt finish. We had several opportunities and we just didnt make it.
Dunbar closed the game on an 11-0 run made up of two baskets and seven free throws to win by 18 points.
When you get behind and youre trying to make a run, youre going to overplay in some places, he said. Youre going to reach here and there. They do that and then they knock down their free throws. Thats just the chances you take when youre trying to apply pressure on somebody.
Norman said the Lady Bulldogs height wasnt an issue Todd is a 6-3 junior, while Lakeena Parks is 5-11 but limiting their second-effort points was. Dunbar had 14 second-effort points compared to none by Frankfort.
This is a team that went to the state tournament last year, he said. They are big and youre going to give up baskets. I honestly thought we did a really good job. If youre that big and youre not making some impact, youre not a good player, but no, these are great players. They are going to get some sometime and youre going to have to live with that. Its just the thought that you have to limit the second chances they have. We gave them some buckets here and there.
The Lady Bulldogs shot 43.9 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the 3-point line. Dunbar made 20 of its 28 free throw shots for 71.4 percent.
Todd finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds, while Parks had 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
FHS recorded a field-goal percentage of 31.4 and a 3-point shot percentage of 23.1 on 6 of 26. The Lady Panthers made five of 13 free throws.Shane Brown grabbed 9 rebounds to lead Frankfort.
Dunbar moved to 17-11 and faces Madison Central in the semifinals1:30 p.m., Saturday.The Lady Panthers finished their season with an overall record of 19-9, and its far from a disappointment.
Trying to take over a program like we did three years ago, it was a lot about the confidence of the girls, believing that they were basketball players that could compete, that could work as a team and compete with bigger schools. Thats what weve built all the way through, Norman said. Our goal was to give ourselves a shot in everything we played and we did that in South Carolina. We beat Brewbaker Tech, the No. 1 team in Alabama and theyre 27-1.
To come back here and play against (Lexington Christian Academy) and to play like we did and get into the All A, then give yourself a shot to get into the semifinals. Then the district, they did the exact same thing. To beat a basketball team like Franklin County, who has been here every year, is just phenomenal. We look at this as the positives far outweigh one games decision.
The Lady Panthers say goodbye to five seniors on the team, including Shauntae Brown, Shanae Brown, Cailyn Jouett, Kiana Russell and Jasmine Washington.
I think my biggest thing for these girls is for them to live up to their ability for them to realize it, Norman said. Like I told them now, even though they wont play for Frankfort again, the impact theyve made all five of them are going to go onto college to compete. Cailyn is going in track and the rest are going in basketball. When has that happened before? As little girls walk through that hallway for years to come, they are going to look up and see what theyve gone on to do. Thats the impact theyll always make.
DUNBAR (73) Brooke Todd 19, Lakeena Parks 19, Shakeema Jackson 11, Kierra Muhammad 9, Jordin Fender 8, Lexus Edwards 7.
FRANKFORT (55) Shauntae Brown 18, Shanae Brown 12, BriAnna Burbridge 8, Kiana Russell 7, Cori Cunningham 6, Jasmine Washington 4.