Sports

Franklin Co. girls top Bryan Station

FRANKFORT — Chelsea Craig was half blind by the fourth quarter, but she still found a way to score.

The Franklin County senior, who lost a contact at the end of the third quarter, scored nine of her game-high 22 points in the final period to help the No. 20 Flyers drop No. 17 Bryan Station 71-55 on Friday night.

"It made it very hard to see," she said afterward. "But I got back into the rhythm of it and it went pretty good."

It was a complete turnaround for Franklin County, which lost to the Defenders by a point just three short weeks ago.

But that was a different Flyers team, Craig said.

"We're better mentally, physically," said Craig, who also had 10 rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots. "We're a whole better team than when we first played them."

The Flyers are definitely a more complete team, Coach Joey Thacker said.

"This team did a whole lot of soul searching the past few weeks," he said. "We've had some people accept some roles that early on I'm not quite sure was to their liking."

It's paid off, though.

The Flyers flew out to an 11-4 start with their multitude of weapons. Andrea Howard, who had 17 points, had five in that early run.

It was the first game back for the guard, who had a dislocated knee.

"She handled the ball strong," Thacker said of Howard, who also had six rebounds, four steals and four assists. "She's a kid that deserves some looks. ... She's so big and strong, it's tough for people to match up with her."

Station was able to right itself early and pull within two points on Nealy Williams' shot in the lane before the Flyers responded with an 8-1 to end the first quarter with a 22-13 lead.

The teams went back and forth in the second quarter, but the Defenders could never get any closer than six and trailed at halftime 39-31.

Williams led all Station scorers with 17 points, including 13 in the first half. She also had seven rebounds and three steals for the Defenders, who had a four-game win streak halted.

The Flyers, who won their third straight, started the second half much like they did the first with a 9-0 run to grab a 48-31 lead. Station replied by scoring eight unanswered.

But the Flyers didn't let the surge bother them.

"We're just a little more focused than we have been," Thacker said. "In the past three weeks, we've been on a mission."

Having players contribute in different ways has helped, the coach said. Like Ashli Mayes scoring 12 points or reserve Brittany Mello adding nine points or Chelsea Rivers' eight points.

"We've got some really good basketball players that kind of go unnoticed and they're coming into their own at the time of year that we need them to," Thacker said.

Station, which struggled with foul trouble, never seemed to get its bearings. The Defenders, who are back in the top 25 this season for the first time since 2002, couldn't quite get it going Friday night.

franklin co. 71, bryan station 55

BRYAN STATION (10-4) — Mosby 5, Blackwell 2, A. Prince 6, Williams 17, Sandusky 11, Crumbie 9, M. Prince 3, Caise 2.

FRANKLIN CO. (14-4) — Howard 17, Rivers 8, Hack 2, Mayes 12, Craig 22, Mello 9, Smith 1.

Bryan Station 13 18 17 7—55

Franklin Co. 22 17 18 14—71

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