Lady Panthers build big lead, hold on to reach district finals
By Jim Turner

Posted on February 25, 2020 8:42 PM


After outscoring Franklin-Simpson 31-8 in a 20-minute span to build a 40-17 lead, the Russellville Lady Panthers withstood an offensive barrage in the final three minutes Tuesday.

As a result, Coach Cameron Jackson’s Lady Panthers eliminated the Lady Cats 44-35 to advance to Thursday’s 13th District championship game and next week’s Fourth Region Tournament.

Russellville led 11-7 after a quarter. Franklin’s only senior, Evyn McCutchen, hit two free throws to pull the Lady Cats within 13-9. She had six points then. Kate Norwood hit another foul shot in the next few seconds.

Coach Lex Lindsey’s team didn’t score another point for exactly eight minutes—a full quarter. The Lady Panthers were leading 23-10 when Alera Barbee finally got a shot to fall for F-S.

Kate Norwood got two shots to fall for five points, but when Brinley Mason scored on an assist from Macaria Hines, her Lady Panthers had doubled the score on the Lady Cats by a 34-17 count at the end of three quarters.

Mason scored to start the fourth quarter, Chloe Whitescarver stuffed a rebound back in, and Amiyah Collier scored on an assist from Whitescarver to put the home team up 40-17 with 4:27 remaining.

Franklin—Norwood in particular—refused to surrender. She hit four 3-pointers in the final four minutes, including three in a row, to pull within 42-31. When McCutchen banked in a long 2-pointer, Franklin was within 43-33 with 90 seconds remaining.

The Lady Cats managed only two more points the rest of the game on a goal by Conleigh Wilson. Russellville didn’t need any more points, but got one from Hines with 1:10.

On the other end of the court, Franklin put up three shots, but Lady Panther Anastasia Dowlen blocked two of them. Jaylah Kees got the third rebound and effectively sealed the win for RHS. Russellville ate up 19 seconds before Franklin was able to foul, and it was over.

Both teams had a major negative statistic: Franklin committed 27 turnovers and Russellville missed 18 of 31 free throws. But the winners hit 13 free throws. Franklin had trouble getting the ball into scoring position and rarely managed to get the ball to the goal. They shot just seven free throws, hitting four.

Russellville’s record improved to 19-10, Franklin finished 11-18.

Dowlen scored 11 points, Whitescarver 10, Collier 9, Hines 8 and Mason 6 for Russellville. Dowlen had a double-double with 11 rebounds. Norwood had 21 points and McCutchen 8 to top Franklin-Simpson.



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