The New Franklin boys and girls basketball teams gave great effort Friday night while hosting the Salisbury Panthers on Homecoming.
Although the Panthers may have felt at home by beating the New Franklin boys and girls by the scores of 67-43 and 35-29, respectively, the gym said otherwise with each class displaying their banners across the walls.
Of course the Lady Bulldogs had their chances against Salisbury while trailing by just one (8-7) after first period's end while matching the Panthers with seven points in the second frame to go in at the down by one at 15-14.
While shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half, New Franklin took only 12 shots. Salisbury, meanwhile, burned the nets from the outside in the first half while scoring nine of its 15 points from the three-point arc.
Nonetheless, the Lady Bulldogs were still very much in the ballgame with two quarters of play. While leading by as much as three in the first half, New Franklin also trailed by as much as six at 15-9 with 2:34 left in the second after a trey by senior Sabrina Burris.
But all was forgotten in the third quarter as New Franklin came back and took its first lead since the opening period after back-to-back baskets by Derian Dodson and Jasmyne Boggs to make it 18-17 with 6:00 left. Unfortunately for New Franklin, they never led again after that as Salisbury closed out the period with a 9-2 run to lead after three by a score of 26-20.
The fourth quarter was just as close as the first-three periods, with the Lady Bulldogs cutting the lead to four at 26-22 with 7:06 left only to have Salisbury come back and reel off four straight to push the lead to eight at 30-22 with 4:32 remaining.
New Franklin didn't go down without a fight, though. While cutting the lead to four on two different occasions over the final four minutes, the Lady Bulldogs would get no closer as Salisbury came back with a 5-3 advantage for the rest of the game for the victory.
While the loss dropped New Franklin to 15-6 on the season, head coach Chris McGowan said the girls had a nice atmosphere to play in this game.
"There was a big crowd attending because of Homecoming and it was fun to play in that atmosphere," McGowan said. "Salisbury did a good job rebounding throughout the game and really limited our second chance points. We also really struggled shooting the ball which is evidenced by our 28% shooting on the night. I was comfortable with our shot selection throughout most of the game, but we had a lot of trouble making a shot. We have two more weeks of the regular season to get better and need to make the most of our opportunities."
Sabrina Burris had 14 points and Hannah Nicolay eight for Salisbury.
For New Franklin, Aly Hundley finished the game with seven points, seven rebounds, four steals and two assists. Madi Lyons also had seven points, four rebounds and two steals while Derian Dodson added six points and five rebounds, Aislinn Himmelberg with four points and one rebounds, Jasmyne Boggs with three points, 13 rebounds and two steals and Kalani Pihana with two points and two rebounds.
The Lady Bulldogs also finished the game shooting 26 percent from the field and 40 percent from the foul line.
The New Franklin boys also put up a good fight against the Panthers, who entered the game ranked No. 4 in Class 2.
Although the Panthers clearly had the height against New Franklin, the Bulldogs gave Salisbury everything they wanted and more early on while leading at one point by a score of 12-4 with 2:56 left in the first period. However, after a quick timeout by Salisbury coach Kenny Wyatt, the Panthers picked up the pace offensively while outscoring New Franklin 9-0 for the rest of the quarter and 8-0 early in the second period to make it 21-12.
Salisbury never looked back from that point on while leading at the break 23-19. The Panthers also dominated the second half by outscoring New Franklin 44-24 to win the game by 24.
Despite the loss, New Franklin coach Jim Schlotzhauer said his team played a solid first half to stay within four.
"Salisbury is a great team who won't be held down for long," Schlotzhauer said. "They figured out what we had to give up and they took advantage of it. That's what good teams will do to you when they have advantages. I was very proud of our effort throughout the game."
Austin Wyatt led Salisbury in scoring with 20 points.
For New Franklin, who dropped to 11-10 overall, Tyler White had 22, Tanner White eight, Jacob Hendrix four, Ryley Lyons three and Adam Harris, Dalton Welbern and Tyler Hull each with two.