GERMAN TWP. — Skyler Weir didn’t have time to think about being tired during a frenetic evening of Southwestern Buckeye League girls basketball.
But when it was over, the Franklin High School senior guard made it clear she was ready for a good night’s sleep.
“I’m dead tired. I haven’t been this tired since tournament last year,” Weir said Thursday after the visiting Wildcats outlasted Valley View 61-58 in a SWBL Southwestern Division slugfest. “I was expecting a really good game, but that was a fight.
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“Half the time I didn’t even look at the score. We made a 3, they made a 3. We made a bucket, they made a bucket. It was just back and forth all night. There was no time to think about anything.”
Weir tossed in five 3-pointers and a career-high 17 points, while classmate Layne Ferrell put up superstar numbers (32 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals), as Franklin boosted its record to 6-1 overall and 5-0 in the SWBL.
The Wildcats are now alone atop the Southwestern Division, with Valley View dropping to 5-2, 4-1.
“I enjoy those games more than winning by 30. I would take that over blowing somebody out any day,” said Ferrell, who will play at the University of Akron next season. “I felt like we never gave up. Last year there were times when I felt like no one was trying anymore, but I really felt like everyone wanted to win tonight, and that’s exactly what we did. I like where we’re heading. We’re going in the right direction.”
It was a milestone-plus-one evening for Franklin coach John Rossi, who picked up his 301st career victory. He hit 300 with last Saturday’s 70-46 triumph over Bellbrook.
Rossi praised Valley View, which was a blistering 12-of-19 from 3-point range, for an effort that would’ve produced a solid win on most nights.
“They’ve got a lot of kids that can play,” Rossi said. “We knew it was going to be a heavyweight fight. We’ve almost gone all the way through our first round (in the league), but I can guarantee you teams are going to be coming after us. We can’t be happy. We can’t be satisfied.”
The Spartans were four points away from putting all five starters in double digits. Lauren Legate (14), Aubrey Stupp (13), Abigail Dickson (11) and Claire Henson (11) topped the scoring for the hosts.
Clutch shooting was on display by both teams. In the last 88 seconds, Valley View got a 3-pointer by Dickson and a basket in the lane by Henson, while the Wildcats got a 3-pointer by Weir and a banked-in jumper by Ferrell.
That Ferrell basket made it 60-58 with 23.5 seconds remaining. Emily Newton’s steal in the last 10 seconds led to Ferrell going to the line with 3.2 ticks left.
Ferrell made the front end of the one-and-one, but missed the second shot, and the Spartans rebounded and called a timeout. Weir then stole the inbounds pass.
“I’m not mad at all. I’m not going to lose any sleep over this loss,” Valley View coach Steve Dickson said. “I’m proud of our kids. We battled as hard as we could, I thought we dug pretty deep, and we only had 10 turnovers. We knew coming in that Franklin was a good team. We’ve got to play them again in a couple weeks, so let’s see what happens.”
Weir scored 29 total points through the first six games before erupting Thursday. She was 5-of-8 from beyond the arc and had at least one trey in every quarter.
“For once, I did not hesitate and just shot it,” Weir said. “I didn’t think they were going in. I thought I missed every single one of them. Maybe I should start thinking like that more often.”
“Weir is the one that killed us. She was the difference maker,” Steve Dickson said. “And of course you always go back to Layne. We tried our hardest to keep her out of the lane, but eventually she’s going to get in and get her points. That’s why she’s probably the best player in the league.”
The 6-foot-1 Ferrell had nine points in the fourth period and 30 over the last three quarters. She was 12-of-18 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the foul line, and she wasn’t happy about missing what could’ve been the clinching free throw in the final seconds.
“Oh, God,” said Ferrell, shaking her head. “When I missed that, I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ But you’ve just got to get back and play defense.”
“We feel Layne’s the best player in the league,” Rossi said. “Anytime it’s close, we feel we’ve got a shot. If we can get the ball in her hands, we feel she’s going to get to the rim or get to the free-throw line.”
While Weir had every Franklin 3-pointer, Valley View split its treys between five players. Stupp and Legate drained four apiece.
“Our goal is to play aggressive defense,” Rossi said. “We lost some assignments and gave up the 3-balls because we didn’t take the middle away, and when we were there to help, they were kicking and knocking shots down.
“I don’t know how everything transpired there at the end of the game, to tell you the truth. I know we didn’t start out real well. We were a little out of rhythm and maybe a little jittery, but the kids held their composure and got better as the game went on.”
Legate grabbed eight rebounds and Henson had six for the Spartans, who got five assists and three boards from Abigail Dickson. Kaylee Harris notched six rebounds for Franklin, and Jordan Rogers added four points, four steals, four assists and two boards.
Rossi is in his 21st year as a head coach. He’s 25-8 in two seasons at Franklin, 199-44 in 10 seasons at Madison, 56-77 in six seasons at Fenwick and 21-42 in three seasons at Middletown. Overall, that’s 301-171.
Asked about reaching the 300-win plateau, Rossi said that’s more than 700 victories between him and his father Butch, who died in 2005 at the age of 70.
“I’ve been at it a long time with a lot of good coaches and players and administrators, a good wife, a good family,” Rossi said. “I wish my dad was around to talk about it, to tell you the truth. Everybody says, ‘Boy, your dad would be proud.’ If I could make my dad proud, I’d feel like I’m a pretty good man.”
The Wildcats will return to action Monday at home against Roger Bacon. Valley View visits Bellbrook on Saturday afternoon.
Valley View 13-12-18-15—58
FRANKLIN (6-1, 5-0 SWBL Southwestern): Jordan Rogers 2 0 4; Skyler Weir 6 0 17; Layne Ferrell 12 8 32; Brooke Stover 1 0 2; Emily Newton 2 0 4; Kaylee Harris 1 0 2. Totals: 24-8-61
VALLEY VIEW (5-2, 4-1 SWBL Southwestern): Abigail Dickson 3 4 11; Chloe Smith 2 0 6; Claire Henson 4 3 11; Aubrey Stupp 4 0 13; Lauren Legate 5 0 14; Megan Black 1 0 3. Totals: 19-7-58
3-pointers: F 5 (Weir 5), V 12 (Stupp 4, Legate 4, Smith 2, Black, Dickson)