High School Basketball

Franklin County shakes off cold shooting to reach third straight 11th Region girls’ championship

Franklin County's Princess Stewart, 5, scored over Mercey County's Faith Lake, 11, as Mercer Defeated Franklin County 72-63 on Thursday January 12, 2017 in Frankfort, Ky.
Franklin County's Princess Stewart, 5, scored over Mercey County's Faith Lake, 11, as Mercer Defeated Franklin County 72-63 on Thursday January 12, 2017 in Frankfort, Ky. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

Princess Stewart had 20 points to lead Franklin County to its third straight 11th Region championship game. The Flyers overcame a scrappy Madison Central squad, 60-41, in the semifinals Friday night at EKU’s McBrayer Arena.

Stewart, the 11th Region Player of the Year and a Miss Basketball candidate, scored all of her points in the first three quarters. She had nine of the Flyers’ 46 rebounds as they used their speed to overcome a size disadvantage inside to win the glass game, 46-22.

Twenty-seven of Franklin County’s rebounds came on the offensive end. The Flyers were 21 of 64 (32.8 percent) from the field and 6-for-26 (23.1 percent) from behind the three-point line. Senior Savannah Courtney, who finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and three steals, grabbed nine of her boards on offense.

“We didn’t shoot it real good, but we went and got it so we could shoot it bad again,” Flyers Coach Joey Thacker said. “So at least give us credit for that. We don’t make the best decisions sometimes in terms of shot selection. … Defense and rebounding, if you do that this time of year you get to play longer.”

Central’s Mallie Cornett made a difference in Franklin County’s ability to drive to the rim and get easy shots off. She had seven blocks for the Indians.

Lindsey Johns led Madison Central with 13 points. The Indians started four seniors — Cornett, Johns, Charity Mack and Kasi Schneid — and one junior (Bailee Vanover), all of whom went the distance in most of their games this season. They exited in the final minute to an ovation from their home crowd.

“It didn’t work out in our favor, but I tell ya what, I don’t think there were many people coming into the preseason that thought we would be 24-10, either,” Indians Coach Robert Cooksey said. “So these kids have overachieved.”

Franklin County will play Lafayette in the 11th Region finals at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. The teams met once this season, with the Flyers taking a 70-40 decision at Lafayette on Dec. 6. The Generals knocked off No. 14 Scott County, 78-70, in Friday’s first semifinal.

“The only thing that matters in December are Christmas presents,” Thacker said of that first matchup. “And our kids understand that. We’ve got a pretty mature bunch.”

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

Franklin County 60, Madison Central 41

Mad. Central (24-10) — Cornett 8, Mack 8, Vanover 5, Johns 13, Schneid 7.

Franklin Co. (29-5) — Cook 13, Talley 9, Stewart 20, Miles 7, Courtney 8, Thacker 3.

Mad. Central

9

7

16

9

41

Franklin Co.

17

17

14

12

60

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