Cats finally get Tigers by the tail
The last five meetings between the Franklin County Lady Wildcats and the Lawrenceburg Lady Tigers had decisively gone in the favor of the latter, LHS winning each contest by at least 10 points.
New year, new result.
Behind three double-digit scorers, FC held the visiting Tigers at bay to post a 40-35 victory on Thanksgiving Eve. The win evens the Lady Cats’ Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference record at 1-1.
Despite being down 21-11 at halftime, a relatively young Tiger squad scratched back to tie the game with a 9-0 run following a timeout with 1:49 remaining in the third period. Before the quarter break, sophomore Natalie Knigga canned a pair of free throws and, after an FC turnover, senior Lizzie Redar scored in the paint to make it a 25-20 ball game. Very early in the fourth, Knigga found her way back to the stripe for two more; then, with 7:13 showing, freshman Aubree LaBazzo hit one of the game’s three 3-pointers from the wing to knot things at 25 apiece.
But with senior Kassidy Schell depositing two charity tosses just seconds later, FC had a lead it would not relinquish. Senior Josie Rolfes finished a drive to put the Wildcats up 29-25. Sophomore Tiffany Billman later scored on the block to make it 31-26. Junior Nicole Mears kept it a 5-point cushion when she was fouled after an offensive board and sank both free ones. Shortly after, LHS lost LaBazzo to fouls when she was whistled for charging. Schell committed the same violation on FC’s next possession and freshman Brooklyn Craig made it a 2-point game by nailing a triple at the other end. Mears quickly answered with a turnaround in the lane and FC coach Kyle VanMeter called a full timeout at 35-31 to plan for the final three minutes. At 2:23, Redar put in a reverse on a second-chance opportunity and LHS coach Zane White asked for time. Out of the break, the Tigers lost another offensive weapon as Knigga was called for her fifth foul. Rolfes hit one of the two foul shots. Still a one-possession game, FC went up 38-33 when Schell found Mears for an inside field goal. In the double bonus late in the game, Schell and sister Kiersten combined to go 2-of-4 from the line to take the win into the holiday weekend.
The Cats stormed out to a 6-0 advantage despite a charge called on Ki. Schell that negated the initial basket. Undeterred, Schell finished off a break (Rolfes assist) triggered by a Billman steal. The Tigers had early trouble with FC’s 2-1-2 midcourt trap, leading to an easy Billman hoop (from Ka. Schell) and Kassidy Schell’s putback off a missed three.
After trading turnovers, LHS finally got on the board with a traditional 3-point play for Craig. Ki. Schell and Knigga then swapped 2-pointers. Grabbing an offensive board, Ka. Schell was fouled and hit both charities. Following a Knigga drive, senior Macy Crain earned her third rebound of the early going and Ki. Schell’s layup made it 12-7. Redar hit a short jumper and it was a 3-point game after one frame. Fouls began piling up over the next few minutes, a Mears follow-up at 4:55 being the only FG until a Ki. Schell trey made it 17-11. Ka. Schell followed in her own miss for an 8-point lead and later went to her left for the half’s final points. The third stanza also started slowly, broken up by Kamryn Ferreira’s deuce in the lane. Mears responded with two FTs to keep the lead in double digits. After a Redar goal down low, Ka. Schell earned a trip to the line after getting to the glass on offense; her foul shots made it 25-16.
Ki. Schell led all scorers with a dozen markers with her twin picking up 11. Mears, Knigga and Redar each scored 10. Billman (4) and Rolfes (3) rounded out home side scoring.
Lawrenceburg’s next game will be on the road in Richmond, Friday Dec. 2, when they will be looking for win number four. FC (6-2), off to its best start in five years, hosts Morristown Dec. 3 for an afternoon tip followed by a home matchup with Richmond Dec. 6.