New Franklin, 28-2, will play New Haven, 22-9, for third place tonight at Mizzou Arena starting at 6 p.m.
When first warming up on one end of the floor prior to the second Class 2 semifinal game last night at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, the Crane Lady Pirates looked like just any normal basketball team.
However as the New Franklin Lady Bulldogs quickly found out, Crane is not your ordinary team. While harassing New Franklin for 32 minutes, Crane jumped out to a 40-13 halftime lead and never looked back for a convincing 57-27 victory.
The Lady Bulldogs, 28-2 on the season, will now play in the third-place game tonight against New Haven, 22-9, at Mizzou Arena starting at 6 p.m. Crane will take on Skyline, who won over New Haven 37-32, for the championship on Saturday starting at 6:20 p.m.
New Franklin girls basketball coach Chris McGowan said the film doesn’t do them credit.
“We really felt comfortable watching film that if we can get into the half-court we would be ok, but we struggled to do that,” McGowan said. “I think you have to give them a whole bunch of credit for that. No doubt I am proud of the whole team, it’s just they are a good team. For a Class 2 team you have to have a whole lot of tools to be able to beat them. I am not sure very many teams are going to be able to do that. I just think a lot of credit goes to them.
“I told the girls that I am very proud of our effort, especially in the second half because that could have gotten pretty ugly pretty fast and it was on the border of that I think at times. The third quarter I thought we showed some pride. I think we went on a 9-0 in the third period so that was a good thing for us obviously. It’s so hard to get them in a half-court game and we were unable to do that it felt like.”
Of course it didn’t help that Crane took a total of 81 shots compared to just 34 for New Franklin or that the Lady Pirates forced 28 turnovers while committing just 10.
Nonetheless, the first half was all Crane as the Lady Pirates jumped out to a 6-0 lead while forcing four straight turnovers by New Franklin in the first period to lead 16-6.
Crane also had four different players score in the first quarter, led by senior Emma Lander with 10 of the 16. Lander also had eight straight during a minute stretch to make it 14-2 with 4:20 left.
Unfortunately for New Franklin, it got worse before it got better in the second quarter as Crane reeled off 10 straight during a three-minute stretch to push the lead to 21 at 31-10.
Lander also tallied eight more points in the period to finish the half with 18.
Although Crane pretty much dominated the first half, New Franklin’s Jasmyne Boggs was one of the few bright spots with eight points, six rebounds and five blocked shots.
Boggs said she just tries to do what she can. “That’s my job,” Boggs said. “I am supposed to protect the lane and if I don’t do that I feel like I have failed.”
Crane coach Jeremy Mullins said he was glad to see the girls come out strong in the first half.
“We love to run but here lately in sectionals and quarterfinals we have been forced into a half-court game and I think that has really made us grow and added another dimension to our game,” Crane said. “We knew New Franklin was big so we knew we had to concentrate on rebounding and boxing out but we also knew that they didn’t play a lot of kids so we knew we needed to make them move up and down and if that big girl is not in the lane it’s hard for her to get a rebound.”
McGowan said there was really no halftime speech. He said he just put the word ‘Pride” on the board and circled it.
“This game was similar to the Father Tolton game,” McGowan said. “I just told the girls that we have to play for pride. We get two games and Aislinn Himmelberg said that in the Boonville paper last week. We are guaranteed two games and we have to play together and just see what happens. It could have gotten embarrassing and we don’t want to do that I don’t think. I was proud of the effort in the second half, though.”
Trailing 40-13 to start the third quarter, the Lady Bulldogs really had no choice but to come out fighting. And fighting they did by reeling off nine straight during a three-minute stretch to cut the lead to 21 at 43-22.
New Franklin also outscored 9-5 in the third quarter.
Coach Mullins said he thought his team got a little complacent in the second half. “Usually all year the third quarter has been our quarter,” Mullins said. “I don’t know what was going on. I believe New Franklin may have out-rebounded us that third quarter, so that wasn’t very pleasing. We had trouble scoring at times.”
Although the Lady Bulldogs made a small dent in the score, they still trailed by 23 (45-22) to start the third quarter. However after reeling off eight straight in the final period to extend the lead to 29 at 55-26 with 3:54 left, you knew it was only a matter time of before Crane hit the 30-point mark for a running clock.
That came with 2:33 remaining on a basket by Lander to make it 57-27.
McGowan said at that point he wanted to keep the starters fresh for Friday’s game while letting the players on the bench finish the game.
Lander finished the game for Crane with 23 points while Lexie Vaught added 13.
For New Franklin, Jasmyne Boggs had 10 points and nine rebounds. Aly Hundley chipped in nine points and three rebounds while Madi Lyons added four points and four rebounds, Derian Dodson with two points and Aislinn Himmelberg and Sara Montgomery each with one point.