Franklin girls cap regular season with easy win

The ability for any of Franklin’s rotational players to have an excellent game on any given night has been a key to the Grizzly Cubs’ success throughout this season. Along with the typical strong offensive nights from Ashlyn Traylor and Kuryn Brunson who had 24 and 15 points, Adelyn Walker was the rotational piece that added to an 82-57 defeat of Jennings County in Thursday’s regular-season finale.

Class 4A No. 2 Franklin heads into sectional play next week with a 22-1 record.

“Well, I think you know when we share the ball as well as we do, and we have a variety of girls,” Franklin coach Josh Sabol said. “Like any night, you know, it could be Lauren (Klem), it could be Scarlett (Kimbrell), it could be Ashlyn, Adelyn, or Kuryn. We just have such a really good balance that it can be anyone on any given night.”

The Grizzly Cubs’ 21-9 first-quarter lead over the Panthers (16-6) was funded mostly by Traylor, who had 11 of those points, but it was Erica Beuning struck first with a 3. Brunson brought Franklin to a 7-5 lead by sinking two free throws with 5:22 left in the first, and Jennings County was never able to bring it back to a competitive game after that.

Walker’s impact off the bench was most felt in the second quarter, when the junior lit up the court and matched Traylor’s 11-point quarter. Beuning also chipped in six to give Franklin a 46-21 lead at halftime.

Even though Walker may not be starting, she feels her role remains virtually the same as last year, when she started for Martinsville.

“I don’t think it’s any different, really, because I still go out there and give us a boost and I can play defense, whether it’s a guard or the post,” Walker said.

Coming out of halftime, Franklin let off of the defensive pressure as a team would likely do up 25 in the final game of the regular season but still the Grizzly Cubs were able to keep the game out of the Panthers’ reach with big shots coming from Klem, who hit a 3, and Traylor, who got a basket with ease to close the third at 65-40.

The final quarter looked a lot like the first for Traylor, as she finished with 9 points on the quarter and kept the Panthers at bay to finish the game.

Franklin will face Shelbyville in the first round of the Franklin Central Sectional on Tuesday. Sabol hopes the Grizzly Cubs clean some things up, but he believes his team is ready.

“Just based on this game, our defense in the second half was terrible, and we’ve got to get a lot better on defense. We have to get better on the boards and clean some things up there. But I think, going into sectionals, you want to play your best. We’ve got to clean some things up and I think we’ll be ready.”