LEBANON — It was a solid start for what Franklin High School’s girls basketball team is hoping will be a long postseason run.
The top-seeded Wildcats weren’t great in a Division II sectional opener against Ross on Saturday afternoon, but they were plenty good enough to roll to a 53-16 victory at Lebanon.
“We don’t overlook any opponent,” said Franklin sophomore guard Jordan Rogers, who scored a career-high 19 points. “We were expecting to come in here and have to play like we know how to play to win. But at the same time, we were using it as a practice to work on our game for when we go farther in the tournament.”
GIRLS BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT COVERAGE
Rogers added four assists and five steals for the Wildcats (18-4), who made it to the regional semifinals last year. Layne Ferrell had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Franklin coach John Rossi wasn’t thrilled with his team’s early play — 14th-seeded Ross (2-21) was within 14-8 at the end of the first quarter. By halftime, it was 33-11.
“Rossi had to get on us a little bit,” Rogers said, “and then we picked it up and started playing our game.”
Rossi said the Wildcats had three good practices and two “atrocious” ones heading into Saturday’s contest.
“I don’t know if it was me or the kids or the staff, but Thursday and Friday were just very bad practices,” he said. “But we had a nice team meeting after that, and I think the kids were just tired and had a lot of emotions. We lost our last game and then had five practices, and the seniors said maybe we should’ve taken a day off in there.”
Rossi said Franklin will get Wednesday off if it wins its next sectional game against No. 12 Thurgood Marshall at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Lebanon.
“I still feel pretty good about what we can do in the tournament,” Rossi said. “Were we brilliant for 32 minutes today? No, but we had some spurts. We knew the Ross kids were going to play hard, and we had some defensive and offensive lapses. We were just fortunate enough that Jordan and Layne made enough plays throughout the 32 minutes to give us the separation we needed.”
The Rams committed 23 turnovers and managed only six field goals. Korryne Justice led the way with six points.
“They hit a couple 3s in a row in the second quarter and it just got away from us,” Ross coach Rodney Parrett said. “I knew it would’ve been a huge upset for us to win. I thought the first quarter was awesome. I’m just proud that they finished and nobody got hurt.”
Alexis Vangen, Adrianne Gleason, Kellan Romans and Dakota Snyder are the seniors for the Rams, who are 9-59 over the last three years. Parrett said he plans to return for his 10th season at the helm in 2019-20 “if they’ll have me back.”
“I always tell my wife, ‘I’m going to coach until it’s not fun anymore,’ ” he said. “I still love the game. I still think I can do good things and make kids better and make them good adults. I know we’ve had three struggle years in a row. I’ve got to put something on the board next year. We’ve got to perform next year.
“We’re going to get better. We’ve already talked about the summer. We’re going to put the effort in. I had higher expectations for this team, but the girls play hard. We just didn’t play smart a lot of times.
“The record doesn’t show how hard these girls played. They played with a lot more heart than 2-21, but they’ve got to learn how to win, and that culture has to change over the summer. It’s not just that we need this player or that player. It’s a culture inside of us that has to get fixed.”
Rogers was the key figure for Franklin on Saturday, scoring at least four points in every quarter while directing the offense at the point.
She said her recent 3-point shooting hasn’t been as productive as she’d like, “so I want to start driving to the hole more and help my team get points that way. For us to be able to go far, the scorers need to score and everybody needs to get touches.”
“Jordan had a great game,” Rossi said. “She didn’t practice real well the last couple days, but she had that dawg in her today. She ran our offense. She attacked. She made free throws. Jordan’s really improved from Day 1.”
Rogers was 8-of-9 at the foul line, while Brooke Stover contributed five points, seven rebounds and three steals to the winning effort.
ROSS (2-21): Grace Stenger 0 1 1; Korryne Justice 2 0 6; Veronica Allen 1 0 2; Adrianne Gleason 0 1 1; Reece Shields 1 0 2; Sydney Shaw 2 0 4. Totals: 6-2-16
FRANKLIN (18-4): Jordan Rogers 5 8 19; Layne Ferrell 5 5 18; Brooke Stover 2 1 5; Emily Newton 1 2 4; Kaylee Harris 2 0 4; Kristin Earles 1 0 3. Totals: 16-16-53
3-pointers: R 2 (Justice 2), F 5 (Ferrell 3, Rogers, Earles)