Not much went right for Franklin County’s girls basketball team early in Tuesday’s game, but with their season on the line the Lady Flyers turned it up in the second half.
FCHS, trailing by a point at halftime, defeated Madison Southern 60-41 in the first round of the 11th Region Tournament at the Frankfort Convention Center.
The victory puts Franklin County (25-6) in the semifinals Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Lafayette. The Lady Generals (25-3) beat Scott County, 70-51, in Tuesday’s second game.
“You’re always worried because it’s win or go home,” FCHS coach Joey Thacker said about the first half, “but we’ve gotten off to slow starts all year.”
The game was tied at 7 at the end of the first quarter, and with 3:15 left in the first Franklin County’s Malaka Frank was whistled for her second foul.
Before halftime the other four FCHS starters also had two fouls apiece.
Madison Southern (20-8) pushed its lead to five points, 20-15, late in the second quarter, but FCHS closed the gap to one, 26-25, by halftime.
“It’s been a few days since we’ve been on the floor because of the weather, and I thought that was very indicative of how we played,” Thacker said. “Nannilena (White) has been sick and can’t breathe, and she’s kind of the motor that makes us go.
“It got to the point between fouls and sickness we were just kind of grasping at straws with lineup combinations. Thank God we got hot there in the third quarter and Anna (Arrastia) kind of bailed us out.”
FCHS tied the game at 26 on a foul shot by Frank. The Lady Eagles responded with a layup by Kristen Hayes, putting MSHS ahead 28-26 with 6:41 left in the third quarter.
More than five minutes passed before Madison Southern scored again.
By that time the Lady Flyers had a 35-28 lead and were in the midst of a 21-2 run that went from 6:22 in the third quarter until 6:05 was left in the game.
Arrastia, who finished with a team-high 15 points, closed the third quarter with a 3-pointer and hit another to open the final period, going 4 for 8 from beyond the arc.
“He just told us to get ready, to get going,” Arrastia said about Thacker’s halftime talk.
“I felt like I had to keep shooting it and eventually my shots would start falling.”
That happened for the entire FCHS team, which shot 30.8 percent in the first half and improved to 43.5 percent in the second.
The Lady Flyers’ defense also picked up as Madison Southern went from shooting 50 percent in the first half to 25 percent in the second half. That 25 percent included a 0 for 10 performance from 3-point range.
The Lady Eagles went 1 for 16 on 3s for 6.25 percent.
Madison Southern’s Briana Lanham, who scored 12 points in the first half, had just three points in the second half.
“We started Malaka out at the point with Nannilena on the bench,” Thacker said about the third quarter, “and I think when she’s cutting through the zones people have to notice her.
“That frees some of our shooters up because she’s cutting through there to post up so much. And I just thought our ball reversal was so big. In the third quarter, we got it swung to the other side of the floor with a little bit of velocity on it, which had to speed up the rotation.
“So not only did we get threes, but we got drives to the basket to get fouled, too.”
Arrastia was one of four Lady Flyers in double figures. The others were Dasia Kilbourne with 12 points, White with 11 and Frank with 10.
Frank had seven rebounds, Princess Stewart had four assists and Rebecca Cook had five steals.
Lanham’s 15 points led Madison Southern, and Ashlyn Clark chipped in 11.
Franklin County and Lafayette met once this season, with the Lady Generals winning 58-56 at FCHS Dec. 10.
MADISON SOUTHERN (41) — Rachel Ramey 4, Kelley Freeman 2, Briana Lanham 15, Kristen Hayes 9, Ashlyn Clark 11.
FRANKLIN CO. (60) — Nannilena White 11, Malaka Frank 10, Dasia Kilbourne 12, Princess Stewart 2, Anna Arrastia 15, Rebecca Cook 6, Savannah Courtney 2, Lauren Willard 2.
To see more photos from this game, click here.