Men's Basketball

Akridge, Pioneers put it on the line to make finals

Olivia Akridge was afraid that if she didn't make up for her mistake, her Transylvania teammates might kick her off the squad.

But she came through, and the Transy women escaped with a 72-65 victory over Franklin.

Akridge fouled Franklin's Monica Planalp on a successful three-pointer with 2½ minutes left. When Planalp made the free throw, the Grizzlies were within three points in the Heartland Conference Tournament semifinals Friday in the Beck Center.

"The girls were not very happy," Akridge said. "It was a dumb play."

A seemingly secure seven-point Transy lead at 3:10 was reduced to one when Planalp followed her free throw with a jumper to get Franklin within 62-61 with 1:57 left.

Franklin had a chance to get the lead, but Angel Lucas stole the ball from Planalp.

Akridge contributed six free throws in the final 50 seconds to secure the victory.

The top-seeded Pioneers will face Hanover, a 72-68 winner over Anderson, in the title game at 5 p.m. Saturday. The winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Transylvania (21-5) made 10 consecutive free throws after the Grizzlies (15-11) got within one.

Akridge made two, Jackie Distler did the same, then Akridge hit four in a row for a 70-65 lead at 16 seconds.

"I knew I had to step up (at the line)," said Akridge, who has played more recently after an injury to Ashley Pait. "I felt really comfortable."

The Pioneers might not have felt too comfortable during Franklin's comeback.

"You don't get to the final four of your conference without a reason, and we knew we were in for a tough battle," Transylvania Coach Greg Todd said.

"We responded well to their pressure except for their last comeback. It was a game of twists and turns, and we finally played hard every possession at the end. We made our free throws when we had to."

After the teams combined to shoot 32 percent and commit 18 turnovers in the first half, they picked up their games. They shot 46 percent and cut the turnovers to 11.

No lead proved safe until the final minute.

Transylvania led 30-23 at intermission, but Franklin took a brief 38-37 lead four minutes into the second half.

The Pioneers regained the edge until the Grizzlies went on top 50-49 with 7½ minutes left. Two Distler free throws at 5:50 put the Pioneers ahead to stay, 56-54, after a Brittany Henderlight three-pointer tied the score.

"We knew it would be tough and not a blowout," Distler said. "We got in a good flow, then they came back."

Distler, out of Sacred Heart, led Transylvania with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Akridge and Woodford County graduate Henderlight had 15 points each.

Planalp was 5-for-8 from behind the arc and scored 25 points, 19 in the second half.

"(Planalp) had a wonderful game," Todd said. "She willed them back in it."

Hanover 72, Anderson 68: Molly Martin scored 21 points, and Abbey Schmahl had 20 for Hanover in its victory over Anderson on Friday. Mel Hawthorne scored 26 for Anderson.

transylvania 72, franklin 65

FRANKLIN (15-11) — Wilson 1-10 1-2 4, Appelhans 3-5 2-2 10, Harper 4-9 3-7 11, Lippold 5-12 0-0 10, Planalp 8-17 4-5 25, Kelly 1-2 0-0 2, Dollens 0-1 0-0 0, Radtke 1-3 0-0 3, Kingseed 0-0 0-0 0, Schwartz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-59 10-16 65.

TRANSYLVANIA (21-5) — Distler 6-16 7-7 19, McCarty 4-10 0-0 9, Milburn 4-9 1-1 9, Akridge 4-9 6-6 15, Henderlight 5-15 2-3 15, Pait 0-4 0-0 0, Lucas 0-1 1-2 1, Adler 1-1 2-2 4. Totals 24-65 19-21 72.

Halftime—Transylvania 30-23. Three-point goals—Franklin 9-20 (Wilson 1-6, Appelhans 2-3, Planalp 5-8, Radtke 1-3), Transylvania 5-24 (Distler 0-5, McCarty 1-4, Akridge 1-3, Henderlight 3-9, Pait 0-3). Rebounds—Franklin 35 (Harper 11), Transylvania 45 (Distler 10). Assists—Franklin 14 (Lippold 4), Transylvania 12 (Henderlight 5). Total fouls—Franklin 21, Transylvania 16. Fouled out—Lippold. Technical fouls—none. Turnovers—Franklin 15, Transylvania 14. A—325.

hanover 72, anderson 68

HANOVER (18-8) — Franz 9, Martin 21, Walters 10, Bentz 5, Whitted 2, Schmahl 20, Vogel 2, Hornaday 3.

ANDERSON (15-11) — Martin 9, Hawthorne 26, Bowsher 8, Leisure 9, Seward 8, Thompson 2, Bynum 6.

Halftime—Anderson 36-31.

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