After dropping two games against Salisbury during the regular season, the New Franklin Lady Bulldogs basketball team felt the third time would be a charm Wednesday night in the semifinal round of the Class 2 District Tournament at Sturgeon.
They were right. In the game that counts the most, the Lady Bulldogs knocked off No. 2 Salisbury by a score of 48-41.
The Lady Bulldogs, 20-7 on the season, will now advance to the championship to face top-seeded Sturgeon, a team they have lost to twice this season, on Friday, Feb. 22. Tip-off for the game, weather permitting, is 6:30 p.m.
New Franklin coach Chris McGowan said this was an exciting game for the girls.
“It was competitive throughout the game and I was very proud of the girls’ effort,” McGowan said. “Jasmyne was in foul trouble in the first half and it was very big for us to get out of that half with the lead. Aly and Aislinn both shot the ball well and made some open jump shots and Madi finished around the basket pretty well. We were able to get some stops late in the game when we needed them and then we went 7 for 9 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to help seal the game.”
While losing once on their home floor and once in the Sturgeon Tournament against Salisbury, the Lady Bulldogs weren’t about to be denied this time. However, after falling behind 7-4 early in the first quarter, New Franklin came back and reeled off seven straight to closeout the period to go up by a score of 11-7.
Meanwhile, after leading by as much as eight in the second quarter, New Franklin also outscored Salisbury 11-10 to make it 22-17.
The Lady Bulldogs never trailed after that while holding a six-point cushion in the third quarter at 35-29. Then, with the game still up for grabs in the final period, junior Aly Hundley nailed the coffin shut by hitting 6 of 6 free throws in the final 32 seconds with New Franklin clinging to a two-point lead at 41-39.
The Lady Bulldogs also outscored Salisbury 13-12 in the final period to win by seven.
As for the scoring in the game, Aly Hundley led three players in double figures with 19 points. Aislinn Himmelberg chipped in 11 while Madi Lyons added 10, Jasmyne Boggs six and Derian Dodson with two.
For Salisbury, Hannah Nicolay had 13 points while Sabrina Burris added seven.