Franklin County faces Belmont

Published 12:12 am Saturday, February 27, 2010

MEADVILLE — It will be a battle of inside vs. outside when the Franklin County Lady Bulldogs take on Belmont today in the semifinals of the MHSAA Class 3A State Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

On one side is the dominating inside presence of Franklin County’s twin towers Vintrice Briggs and Cee Cee Miller while on the other is Belmont’s outstanding guard play from guards Zoe Hammock and Leslie Robinson and forward Anna Brook Page.

“I think we’re going to be stronger inside than they are with Cee Cee and Vintrice,” Franklin County coach Charles Moore said. “I think we’ll have an advantage there. They may have an advantage on the perimeter.”

Franklin County has been relying on Miller and Briggs all season, and the state semifinals are no time to do anything differently, Moore said.

“We try to go through our post players,” Moore said. “We’re going to try and do that (today).”

But Moore knows today’s game will be a big challenge for his team.

“(Belmont) is a very experienced team,” Moore said. “They’ve got a great record at 30-1 and they’re ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, so obviously they’re good.”

Moore was also impressed with the litany of talent Belmont possesses.

“They’ve got an outstanding forward in Page who averages about 25-26 points per game and a very good shooting guard in Hammond. She’s hit about 80 3-pointers this year. They have a sophomore point guard (Robinson) who on film looks like she’s doing an incredibly good job. She’s playing above her age, getting it to the right people and knocking down shots when they need her to.”

Moore said he expects Belmont to play an aggressive man-to-man pressing defense.

“They are going to put pressure on us to see if we can handle the ball,” Moore said. “That’s what they live and die on.”

If Franklin County were to get past Belmont and Choctaw Central were to defeat Ripley in the other semifinal, the Lady Bulldogs would get another shot at the Lady Warriors, who beat them 62-59 in the South State championship game earlier this week.

Moore said the possibility of facing the Lady Warriors again is exciting for his players.

“It’s motivation,” Moore said. “We want to get to the state championship and we wouldn’t mind facing Choctaw again. We led about 90 percent of (the South State championship) game but couldn’t handle it at the end.”

But the Lady Bulldogs must first get past Belmont before they can harbor any championship dreams.

“We’re focusing hard on this game against Belmont,” Moore said. “We would love getting to the finals and winning a state championship.”