Prep girls basketball: Franklin survives in OT, makes school history

SPRINGFIELD — Franklin High School’s girls basketball team has never played in a regional championship game, but that fact will soon be history.

The Wildcats earned their first Division II regional-final berth Tuesday night by outlasting Southwestern Buckeye League rival Valley View 47-39 in an overtime thriller in front of a packed house at Springfield.

“It was amazing, definitely way better than last year,” said Franklin senior Layne Ferrell, noting the Wildcats’ 42-27 loss to Bellbrook in their first-ever regional appearance in 2017-18. “It was like our revenge game this year. We’ve already been here and we definitely know what it feels like to go home with the losing side. We didn’t want to let that happen again.”

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“It feels awesome,” classmate Skyler Weir added. “I don’t even know how to describe it because we haven’t been here before. We’re definitely not satisfied. If we go to state and win it, that’s when we’ll be satisfied.”

Ferrell had 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Franklin (22-4), which will be back at Springfield at 7:30 p.m. on Friday to meet Carroll (25-2) for the regional crown and a spot in the Final Four.

Carroll handled Bloom-Carroll 46-30 in Tuesday’s second semifinal.

“It’s surreal,” Wildcats coach John Rossi said. “It’s still hard to absorb everything that happened, especially the second half and overtime. But I think our defense was key.”

Franklin advanced the hard way, rallying from a four-point deficit in the fourth quarter, then watching the Spartans (19-8) strike first in OT on a Lauren Legate stickback.

Valley View wouldn’t score again, though, as the Wildcats finished the game with a 10-point run. Ferrell contributed seven of those points.

“It had nothing to do with the overtime. We had too many miscues at the end of the fourth quarter that killed us,” Spartans coach Steve Dickson said. “We didn’t do what we had to do at the end to win the game, and they did. You can sit here and make excuses all you want. They just flat-out beat us in the overtime. They deserved to win today.”

Franklin got 10 points from Jordan Rogers and eight from Weir in conquering Valley View for the third time this season. Kaylee Harris added four points and seven boards off the bench.

“We played a really nice, overall balanced basketball game tonight,” Rossi said. “I give Steve and Valley View a lot of credit. It’s tough to beat a team three times, but we felt like the pressure was going to be on them because we beat them twice.

“They were the ones that were going to have to figure out how they were going to beat us. Are they going to stop Layne? Are they going to stop Jordan? Are they going to stay in Weir’s face? Are they going to try to keep us out of the paint?”

The Wildcats had the ball last in regulation, but Ferrell couldn’t get a highly contested shot to fall in the final seconds of what was a 37-37 affair. The Spartans’ Aubrey Stupp knotted the contest on a 3-pointer with 1:18 on the clock.

“We didn’t have anything drawn up,” Ferrell said of her last-second attempt. “I was just trying to score.”

In overtime, Ferrell had a basket and was 5-of-5 at the line. Harris also made a layup, while Rogers chipped in a free throw.

Ferrell felt Franklin took a positive mind-set into OT.

“I think we definitely knew we were the better team. We had already beaten them twice,” she said. “They’re still a good team. You can’t doubt them before the game starts.”

Rossi said the Wildcats’ regional experience was vital at crunch time. Valley View’s last regional appearance came in 1987.

“I think the experience factor played a part,” he said. “It might have played even more in the overtime.”

The Spartans only made four 2-point field goals in the game. They sank eight 3-pointers, getting two apiece from Abigail Dickson, Legate and Stupp.

Dickson (12), Legate (10) and Stupp (eight) were Valley View’s top scorers. Chloe Smith is the only senior on its roster.

“They had to earn it. It wasn’t given to them,” Steve Dickson said of Franklin while praising Ferrell’s continued high-level play. “We made some mistakes that we haven’t made in the last couple games, missed some shots. Not just outside shots, but layups.

“I’m proud of everything we did this year. I thought they came to play today. I thought Aubrey played some great defense on Layne.”

Weir is a 3-point specialist, yet has struggled of late. She was held scoreless in three of the last five games and was ice-cold from beyond the arc early in Tuesday’s matchup.

But she came alive with a pair of 3-pointers after halftime. Both treys chopped four-point deficits down to one.

“The last game I didn’t do well in shooting and it kind of got in my head,” Weir said. “I knew in this game I had to have a short memory and keep shooting. Usually I would stop shooting when they’re not going in, but I kept doing it today, and it worked out.”

“I said, ‘As soon as you make the first one, you’re going to make a couple more,’ ” Rossi said. “The first couple plays of the second half, I think she missed a 3, missed an open shot, then she turned it over. I had to take her out and just say, ‘Hey, we believe in you. We believe. You’re going to get a shot.’ ”

Rossi said Ferrell, who began the night averaging 20.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, was a little under the weather. Emily Newton contributed four rebounds for the Wildcats.

“It was very intense,” Weir said. “I could barely hear Rossi screaming plays, so I probably messed up a bunch of plays. But every game against Valley View is like that.”

Carroll, the Associated Press state poll co-champion, got 16 points from Elisabeth Bush in pulling away from Bloom-Carroll (16-11).

Patriots coach Cecilia Grosselin said her team didn’t play “with a whole lot of heart and hustle” early in the game, but got better as the contest progressed.

“It’s tough,” Grosselin said. “Game after game after game with the schedule that we play kind of wears on the girls a little bit. I know they can play better than they did.”

Carroll lost to Franklin 53-51 in triple overtime in last year’s district finals.

“Their program’s established,” Rossi said. “They’re very strong. They’re fundamentally sound. They shoot the basketball on the perimeter. They get the basketball on the inside. They’re really, really, really good.”

Valley View 10-10-12-5-2—39

Franklin 10-9-9-9-10—47

VALLEY VIEW (19-8): Abigail Dickson 2 6 12; Chloe Smith 2 0 5; Aubrey Stupp 3 0 8; Lauren Legate 4 0 10; Megan Black 1 1 4. Totals: 12-7-39

FRANKLIN (22-4): Jordan Rogers 3 3 10; Skyler Weir 3 0 8; Layne Ferrell 5 7 18; Brooke Stover 2 0 4; Emily Newton 1 1 3; Kaylee Harris 2 0 4. Totals: 16-11-47

3-pointers: V 8 (Dickson 2, Stupp 2, Legate 2, Black, Smith), F 4 (Weir 2, Ferrell, Rogers)

Bloom-Carroll 4-7-15-4—30

Carroll 11-9-14-12—46

BLOOM-CARROLL (16-11): Makenzee Mason 0 1 1; Maddy Wyant 1 0 3; Chloe Davis 6 2 14; Nikki Bradbury 4 0 12. Totals: 11-3-30

CARROLL (25-2): Sarah Ochs 1 1 4; Ava Lickliter 3 2 8; Elisabeth Bush 7 1 16; Allie Stefanek 3 2 8; Megan Leraas 1 0 2; Julia Keller 2 4 8. Totals: 17-10-46

3-pointers: B 5 (Bradbury 4, Wyant), C 2 (Ochs, Bush)

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