Western Hills girls basketball coach Buddy Ritchie knew what his team was facing when it took on Franklin County Thursday.
Sometimes that knowledge doesn’t help.
“Something we can’t practice against is speed like that,” Ritchie said after his team lost to the Lady Flyers 71-34 at FCHS. “We don’t have it to practice against.
“Franklin County and Coach (Joey) Thacker have a great basketball team. When they get a rebound, if you’re not already halfway back they’ll beat you to the basket.”
WHHS’ LaKenzie Ritchie hit a 3-pointer with 1:09 left in the first quarter, cutting Franklin County’s lead to 13-8.
By the end of the period FCHS (17-4) led 18-8, and in a three-minute span late in the second quarter the Lady Flyers outscored WHHS 14-2 to go ahead 38-16.
Taylor Slade hit a 3-pointer for Western Hills just before halftime, making the score 38-19 at the break, but WHHS didn’t score again until 1:54 was left in the third quarter.
“We challenged them getting out of the gate in the third quarter, don’t be stagnant,” Thacker said.
The Lady Flyers weren’t, opening the second half with a 13-0 run for a 51-19 advantage.
Rebecca Cook scored seven of the 13 points on two free throws, a layup and a 3-pointer.
“I thought offensively we were really, really good in terms of balance,” Thacker said, “and tor three and a half quarters our defense was as good as it’s been in awhile.”
FCHS held Western Hills to four points in the third quarter and six field goals in the first three quarters.
“I told the girls we got beat by a better team,” Ritchie said. “Are they 37 points better? I don’t know. I thought we lost a little fight during the game, and that disappointed me. These are good girls, and they usually give everything they’ve got.
“On offense, when we went inside out, and that was our game plan, we hit some shots. Then we started swinging the ball around the 3-point line, and that’s not good for us.”
FCHS had three players in double figures, led by Nannilena White with 19 points. Malaka Frank finished with 15, Cook with 14 and Dasia Kilbourne with nine points.
“Dasia is playing really, really well right now,” Thacker said, “and she showed the consistency she’s played with lately. Rebecca keeps making shots, and Nannilena was on top of her game, especially in transition.
“Princess (Stewart) did a good job. LaKenzie got her in foul trouble last time we played, and she stayed out of foul trouble tonight.”
Stewart, White and Cook each had six rebounds to lead FCHS, which held a 36-21 advantage on the boards.
Franklin County shot 50 percent from the field and 87 percent from the foul line compared to 24 percent (field goals) and 66 percent (free throws) for WHHS.
Ritchie was the Lady Wolverines’ leading scorer with 11 points.
Thursday’s game was the final regular-season district game. FCHS, which had already sewn up the No. 1 seed in the district tournament, ended the regular season undefeated in district play.
Western Hills, 12-8 overall and 2-4 in the district, is the No. 3 seed and will face Woodford County in the district tournament.
“I love these kids to death,” coach Ritchie said. “We’re going to go back out, get better, and get ready for the district tournament.”
Franklin County plays at home tonight against Sacred Heart with game time at 6:30 p.m.
Western Hills’ game Saturday with North Oldham has been canceled. The Lady Wolverines’ next game is Monday at Louisville Iroquois.
WESTERN HILLS (34) — Taylor Vance 2, LaKenzie Ritchie 11, Taylor Slade 6, Kimber Sutton 1, Aja Leachman 8, Samantha Roberts 1, Kayla Hortenbury 5.
FRANKLIN CO. (71) — Nannilena White 19, Malaka Frank 15, Dasia Kilbourne 9, Princess Stewart 7, Anna Arrastia 4, Rebecca Cook 14, Kindall Talley 3.