BY JAKE DONOVAN
As the season progresses, the Franklin Lady Rebels promise to improve on defense. Until then, they’ll continue to make due with their potent offensive attack.
Franklin dominated from start to finish in a 61-32 rout of the visiting Hillsboro Lady Burros in their annual Battle of Hillsboro Road clash Tuesday evening at Franklin High School. The Lady Rebels have now won the last three “Battle of Hillsboro Road” meetings with Hillsboro, with the latest installment offering the largest margin of victory.
Freshman shooting guard Sydney Ryan dropped 30 points—including six three-pointers on the night—in leading all scorers. Senior point guard Jillian King added 13 points, eight assists and three steals for the Lady Rebels, who have won three straight after dropping their home opener.
“We’re a very young team. We’re trying to get better with each practice, with each team meeting,” Franklin head coach John Wild said of his young squad. “I think we’re doing that so far. We still have a lot of things to work on, especially on defense. But each game is important, and we’re stepping up on the things we already do well in order to win games.”
One thing the Lady Rebels have done extraordinarily well early this season is score. They’ve cracked 60 points in each of their three wins, a path established very quickly on Tuesday after storming out to a 21-5 lead after eight minutes of play.
Hillsboro—who were led by Anaya Martin and Jada Reed with eight points apiece—struggled on the boards and in transition, nullifying their opportunity for second chance points or ever chipping away at the Lady Rebels’ increasing lead.
The game was busted wide open in the third quarter, with Ryan draining four three-pointers in as many opportunities.
“It was really good to get this type of win. We have a big divisional battle on Friday versus Brentwood. To win like this, it sets up good for that game.
“I shoot every day after practice, and try to get in 400-500 shots on the weekend,” Ryan explained of her uncanny ability to score at will. “I do a lot of shooting, and a lot of training. Of course, we have to do a lot more than score.”
It was enough to keep the game on a running clock for most of the second half, with the Lady Rebels—already leading by 23 at the half—piling up the points against a willing but ultimately outmatched Lady Burros squad.
Of course, it can always better—and will have to be on Friday, when the Lady Rebels (3-1) host the Brentwood Lady Bruins in their first district game of the 2018-19 season.
“It was a great team effort, we shared the ball well and had a ton of assists. Anytime that happens, you have to be pleased as a coach,” admitted Wild. “Our shot selection was on point. On the defensive end, we have a long way to go.
“There were a lot of positive signs, but we have to defend the ball a lot better on the perimeter. We missed some block outs, giving up second shots. I think we have some good older kids that are trying to communicate that with the younger players.”
Given their desire to step up their game after a 29-point win, it seems all of the players seem to get that message.
“We need better defense, for sure,” notes Ryan. “What works tonight isn’t guaranteed to work tomorrow—or for us, on Friday.”
Photo from 2017 by Steve Wheeler