Prep girls basketball: Ferrell makes history as Wildcats make progress

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Prep girls basketball: Ferrell makes history as Wildcats make progress

The moment of history is stuck in Layne Ferrell’s head.

The Franklin High School guard delivered from long distance to reach the 1,000-point plateau Dec. 18 at Stebbins. She needed 21 points to get there and scored exactly 21. And, yes, she’s only a junior.

“I was coming down with my left hand and then Kaylee Harris set a screen, and it was a 3 right behind the screen from the top of the key area,” Ferrell said. “When I got 18, they came out in a box-and-one, so I had to get it quick or I wasn’t going to get it.”

The Southwestern Buckeye League’s leading scorer now has 1,017 points for the Wildcats girls basketball team, which is 6-3 and riding a five-game winning streak.

Ferrell said getting to 1,000 points as a junior “was unbelievable, actually. I didn’t think I was ever going to get it this early.”

At the top of Franklin’s all-time scoring list is 2010 graduate Brandi McDaniel and her 1,377 points.

“Seventh grade is when we actually started looking at that board, and ever since then it’s been a goal,” Ferrell said.

She’s averaging 20.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3.6 steals and 3.4 blocks per game in a bang-up season that includes 51.2-percent shooting from the floor and 76.6-percent shooting from the line.

“Layne’s a scorer. That’s all there is to it,” first-year Wildcats coach John Rossi said. “I think it was good for her to get to 1,000. I think for one or two games she was pressing a little bit, and kids she plays AAU with were getting 1,000 points. It’s no secret with social media. Now that it’s over with, I look for Layne to have her best basketball as we progress into the season.”

Her all-around play is drawing notice at the collegiate level. Ferrell already has scholarship offers from Northern Kentucky, Texas Tech, Rhode Island, Akron and Western Michigan.

“She continues to be so unselfish,” Rossi said. “She makes everybody around her better.”

Franklin’s Kaylee Harris puts up a shot during a Division I sectional game against Fairborn on Feb. 20, 2017, at Troy. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Length is part of her defensive game — she’s a lanky 6-foot-1. Ferrell conceded that defense is what she needs to work on the most.

“My defense needs to get way better,” she said. “I think I need to get a little bit quicker.”

Ferrell’s roles as floor leader and playmaker are obvious to anyone who watches Franklin play. But the Wildcats are developing more quality depth and certainly aren’t a one-girl show.

Beyond Ferrell and Harris, a sophomore forward, the other starters are freshman point guard Jordan Rogers, junior guard Skyler Weir and junior center Emily Newton.

Franklin’s Brooke Stover puts up a shot while being defended by Fairborn’s Jana Brown-Griffith during their Division I sectional game Feb. 20, 2017, at Troy. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Rogers is averaging 9 points and 2.1 assists per game. Newton is averaging 7.1 points and 3.2 boards. Weir’s scoring average is 4.9. Harris is getting 4.3 points and 5.8 rebounds a contest. Newton and Harris are both shooting about 55 percent from the field.

“We’re trying to get them to develop good work habits day after day after day,” Rossi said. “I think we’ve been able to identify roles, and kids are starting to accept that this is what’s necessary for us to become a really good basketball team. I don’t think we’re a really good basketball team yet, but I think we’re going in the right direction.”

Franklin was 1-3 after consecutive losses to Valley View (47-46), Waynesville (57-56) and Bellbrook (66-36). Rossi described the first two defeats as “devastating” and the latter setback as “we got our butts kicked.”

Franklin’s Layne Ferrell maneuvers for a shot against Fairborn during Division I sectional play Feb. 20, 2017, at Troy. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

He said the players were having trouble integrating his man-to-man defensive principles.

“We had a little ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting after that,” Rossi said. “They haven’t played a lot of man defense. They admitted it was all new to them and a big adjustment. It’s taken a little time, but they’re starting to grasp it now.”

The Wildcats are 2-2 in SWBL Southwestern Division play. They’ll be on the road twice this week, facing Eaton on Thursday and Brookville on Saturday. Miamisburg is coming to Franklin on Monday.

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