Senior guard Layne Ferrell had 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals playing in front of her future coach, the University of Akron’s Melissa Jackson.
Sophomore guard Jordan Rogers contributed 15 points as Franklin improved to 17-3 overall and 11-1 in the SWBL. The Wildcats, seeded No. 1 in the Division II Lebanon sectional, will close the regular season at unbeaten Waynesville on Saturday.
“It’s an amazing night,” Ferrell said. “I still wish we wouldn’t have lost to Bellbrook, but 11-1’s not too bad. Tonight was definitely important because it’s still our league, and we still want to prove our point in our sectional. We knew we were still going to be able to put numbers on the banner, but we still wanted to win.”
Franklin High School girls basketball coach John Rossi cuts down the net Monday night after the Wildcats defeated Valley View 55-45 at Darrell Hedric Gym in Franklin.
Franklin never trailed and fought off multiple runs by the Spartans (15-6, 8-4), and Wildcats coach John Rossi was thrilled with how the night unfolded.
“We never panicked. We looked like an experienced team down the stretch,” he said. “We needed a game like this to test our mettle and fortitude. We had that look that we had during the tournament run last year. It was like, ‘Hey Coach, it’s OK. We know you’re fiery, but relax a little bit because we’ll get this done.’
“This was a league championship mentality game. I give a lot of credit to our seniors and the kids in our program, and our coaches did a great job. We had a great trip this past weekend and did a little bit of bonding, and I’m just tickled to death for our program. It’s exciting to be a champion. It’s surreal, to tell you the truth.”
It was the final home appearance for Franklin’s four seniors: Ferrell, Weir, Emily Newton and Emma Bicknell.
Franklin’s Brooke Stover (34) applies defensive pressure to Valley View’s Aubrey Stupp during Monday night’s game at Darrell Hedric Gym in Franklin. The host Wildcats won 55-45. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
“I’ll always remember this game because it’s my last game on this court,” Weir said. “It’s a little sad, but I’m glad I had a great game to end it out. I’ll miss playing, but I’ll definitely love the memories.”
Ferrell said last Thursday’s Senior Night game against Carlisle was probably more emotional, but added, “I definitely thought this day was farther away. It came quick.”
The 6-foot-1 Ferrell has scored in double digits in every game but one (the 49-23 loss to Bellbrook on Jan. 10) this year. Akron is getting closer and closer for her, but she’s planning a long tournament run before graduating and heading north.
Ferrell said in the end, Akron was the clear choice for her, though Western Michigan was also in the picture.
“It just felt like home,” Ferrell said. “I had already been on a visit, and then when we got there for team camp, I just knew right away. We just clicked.”
Franklin’s Layne Ferrell (30) prepares to drive into the Valley View defense, which includes Aubrey Stupp (32) and Abigail Dickson (10), during Monday night’s game at Darrell Hedric Gym in Franklin. The host Wildcats won 55-45. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
Her Wildcats swept Valley View in SWBL play this year, but they could meet again. The Spartans earned the No. 2 seed in Sunday’s Lebanon sectional voting and figure to be a tough out in the postseason.
Valley View coach Steve Dickson congratulated Franklin for winning the division title and said if Ferrell isn’t the Southwestern Division Player of the Year, “there’s something wrong.”
“We got her frustrated early, but if you are a great player like she is, she just finds a way to get it done,” Dickson said. “She takes all of your energy. You’ve got to have more than one person to guard her. She’s a difference maker.”
Lauren Legate paced the Spartans with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Abigail Dickson had 10 points, while Aubrey Stupp scored all nine of her points in the second half.
Valley View was as close as four twice (42-38 and 44-40) down the stretch. Weir buried a huge trey and two free throws from there, and Rogers marked six points in the fourth period.
Franklin’s Jordan Rogers defends Valley View’s Chloe Smith during Monday night’s game at Darrell Hedric Gym in Franklin. The host Wildcats won 55-45. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
“That was the flattest shot I’ve ever shot in my life,” Weir said of her 3-pointer. “I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ but it went in. The coaches always tell me to keep shooting because they know once I’m hot, I will stay on. I just have to keep shooting in order to get hot.”
Rossi credited the Spartans for their perseverance. The visitors trailed by as many as 12 points in the third stanza.
“I’ll take my young kids any day,” Steve Dickson said. “We just didn’t have enough today. That’s really the bottom line. When you play a good team, you’ve got to be able to step it up, and not everybody did tonight. We’re not going to lose any sleep over the loss. They were the better team tonight.”
Valley View will host Waynesville on Thursday, then turn its focus to the tournament.
“We’re going to try (to make a run),” Steve Dickson said. “We’ve got the big girls inside. We’ve got the guard play. We’ve just got to finish more baskets. I’m excited for us. I can’t wait to start the tournament.”
Valley View 5-9-19-12—45
VALLEY VIEW (15-6, 8-4 SWBL Southwestern): Abigail Dickson 2 5 10; Chloe Smith 1 0 3; Claire Henson 1 3 5; Aubrey Stupp 4 1 9; Lauren Legate 5 0 13; Megan Black 1 0 3; Aiden Valenti 1 0 2. Totals: 15-9-45
FRANKLIN (17-3, 11-1 SWBL Southwestern): Jordan Rogers 5 4 15; Skyler Weir 3 2 11; Layne Ferrell 4 8 17; Brooke Stover 3 2 8; Emily Newton 1 2 4. Totals: 16-18-55
3-pointers: V 6 (Legate 3, Dickson, Black, Smith), F 5 (Weir 3, Rogers, Ferrell)