The Russellville Lady Panthers were unable to put the Lady Wildcats away in their loss at Franklin on Tuesday, 32-39.
Leading after the first quarter 10-8, the Lady Panthers were able to either lead or stay very close throughout the first half. The score at halftime was Russellville 15, Franklin-Simpson 14.
The Lady Panthers had the first possession of the second half. A Lady Wildcat steal and quick basket gave the home team the lead only five seconds into the quarter, 16-15.
Both teams stepped up their play a bit on defense and both teams’ shooting cooled. At 3:40 to go in the quarter, Deshale Leblanc’s basket gave the Lady Panthers a six-point lead, the largest up to this time, 22-16. Franklin-Simpson’s Tristany Lunsford, who played an excellent game, was quick to score for the home team and made the score 18-22.
After a Russellville missed shot, the Lady Panthers, while Head Coach Calvin Head shouted encouragement from the bench, turned on the full-court defense and forced a Franklin-Simpson back court violation and turnover.
After Loreal Cheaney hit a pair of free throws, Tiffany Gray’s blocked shot, then a basket by Leblanc, worked the Russellville lead to eight points, 18-26, with a minute remaining in the third quarter.
As time expires in the third, the Lady Wildcats were able to hit a shot inside after three attempts and three offensive rebounds to make the score 22-28 as the fourth quarter began.
This game seemed very similar to the game these teams had played in Russellville just three weeks ago. In that game the Lady Panthers led for most of the contest, only to lose in overtime.
The final frame was all home-team. The Lady Wildcats out-scored the Lady Panthers 17-4. The Russellville squad went completely cold for the field not connecting on any shots in over a dozen attempts. In fact, the Lady Panthers’ first points of the quarter came at two minutes remaining when Gray hit a pair of free throws.
Gray’s two free-throws were the only attempts by Russellville for the quarter. The Lady Wildcats made 15 trips to the free-throw stripe, connecting on 10 shots.
After a Russellville timeout and with only 15 seconds remaining, Bryant rebounded and drove the length of the court for the Lady Panthers’ only field goal of the quarter. Too little, too late, time expired and the final score was Russellville 32, Franklin-Simpson 39.
The win gives the Lady Wildcats a 2-2 District 13 record with games remaining against Todd County Central (1-3 in District 13) and Logan County (4-0 in District 13).
Russellville’s loss makes their district record 1-3 and they play Logan County this Friday night and Todd County Central next Friday to finish their District 13 schedule.
The Lady Panthers’ overall record now stands at 10-11. Tuesday’s loss was the fourth in a row for the team. In the game, the Lady Panthers were 12 of 56 field goal attempts. And were six free throws in only eight total attempts for the game. DaVonya Bryant and Deshale Leblanc led the team in scoring with 12 points each.
Next up for the Lady Panthers is Friday night’s (February 5) “Clash of the Cats” matchup at Jim Young Gym in Russellville. This will be the second meeting of these teams this year; the Lady Cougars won at Logan County High School back on January 2, 47-36. Tip-off for the game is 6pm.
Friday’s District 13 girl/boy doubleheader game at Russellville is also Hall of Fame night. Inductees into the RHS Hall of Fame for 2016 will be honored between the games.