MIDDLETOWN, Ind. —
Survive and advance.
That’s the mantra at every level of basketball for the next few months. But the Frankton girls basketball team wants a little more.
The Eagles (17-5) survived a 62-50 decision Tuesday against scrappy Shenandoah (6-15) in the first round of Class 2A Sectional 40. And Frankton will advance to a semifinal matchup against Muncie Burris (4-16) on Friday.
But Eagles coach Dean Riddle is well aware another performance like Tuesday’s likely will mean his team won’t be cutting down the nets after Saturday’s championship game.
“There’s momentum, and there’s momentum in your play,” Riddle said. “One thing builds on another thing, and that can be negative or positive. Hopefully, mentally, we’ll be better when we have to be.”
Frankton star Kelsey Key was plenty good against the Raiders. She had a double-double at halftime and finished with 27 points and 18 rebounds. But the senior Indiana All-Star candidate nearly was matched by Shenandoah sophomore Rachel Krathwohl.
The 5-foot-11 Raiders center scored 15 of her 27 points in the third quarter and added a team-high 10 rebounds.
“Rachel’s really stepped up the last couple of games,” Shenandoah coach Chelsea Kilian said. “We know she’s a big presence for us inside, and she can definitely give us a lot of production in there. They key is she’s just not forcing things. She’s working within the flow of the offense.”
The Raiders needed a big third quarter from Krathwohl because of the hole they dug in the second.
Frankton went on a 19-0 run that began with the last basket of the first quarter and ended after the first basket of the third quarter. In between was a 14-0 second period that left Shenandoah trailing 30-10 at the half.
Even with Krathwohl’s heroics — she was 8-for-9 from the field in the third quarter and scored all but six of the Raiders’ first 29 points — Shenandoah still trailed by 20 entering the final period.
That’s when the Eagles appeared to lose focus, and things got interesting.
“We had a significantly long discussion about that very thing before we left Frankton and again after we got here,” Riddle said. “It’s just discipline, and we’re just not very good at that right now.”
Shenandoah’s rally began slowly and trouble seemed to sneak up on Frankton.
An 8-2 run cut the Raiders’ deficit to 14 points when Riddle called his first timeout with 5:15 to play. When Shenandoah came out of the break with six more unanswered points, the Eagles began to take notice.
Key got a field goal and a pair of free throws to get Frankton jumpstarted, but the lead had shrunk to five at 55-50 with 1:23 left.
Katie Key — who finished with eight points — made a pair of free throws to give the Eagles some breathing room, and then momentum swung for the final time. Shenandoah senior Megan Chapman — who scored all six of her points in the final quarter — missed a 3-pointer that would have cut the deficit to four.
Frankton senior Natalie McGuire pulled down the rebound and went coast-to-coast for her only basket of the game, and the Raiders never seriously threatened again.
“The girls really stepped up,” Kilian said. “They really challenged them. They could have easily quit, but they kept fighting. They got a little momentum and took advantage. It just wasn’t quite enough.”
Freshman Ashtyn Rastetter scored 13 points, including four 3-pointers, for Frankton. And senior Breanne Dunigan joined Krathwohl in double figures with 10 points for the Raiders.
The game was an illustration of a point Riddle has been trying to drive home for his team all season. He hopes another lesson isn’t required Friday night.
“There isn’t anybody on our schedule we can’t beat,” he said. “And there may not be anybody on our schedule who can’t beat us.”
Frankton slips past Shenandoah in sectional opener
MIDDLETOWN, Ind. —
Survive and advance.
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