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Franklin County pulls away from Wilkinson County in second half

Franklin County High School’s Jamecia Starks takes a shot against Wilkinson County High School Tuesday. Franklin County won the game 65-53. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Franklin County High School’s Jamecia Starks takes a shot against Wilkinson County High School Tuesday. Franklin County won the game 65-53. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

MEADVILLE — Though the Franklin County Lady Bulldogs defeated Wilkinson County 65-53 at home Tuesday night, Franklin County coach Ricky O’Quinn wasn’t satisfied with his defensive play.

After defeating Wilkinson County 54-32 on the road on Jan. 16, he anticipated the Lady Wildcats to respond well, but didn’t foresee a high-scoring game.

“We knew they were going to come in and try to give a better showing,” O’Quinn said. “Defensively, I thought we played the worst that we have all year. We haven’t given up 53 points in a long time. That hasn’t happened many times.”

Despite the high scoring, Tuesday’s contest between the two featured many scoring droughts. The Lady Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run in the first quarter and claimed a 14-13 before an eight-minute dry spell extending three minutes into the second quarter. During Franklin County’s scoring drought, GaDrieka Cotton scored four field goals, leading the way for Wilkinson County’s 12-0 run. Cotton finished the game with 17 points. Cotton and Katie Hall, who scored 16 for the Lady Wildcats, were able to post up and provide offense near the basket. However, Wilkinson County’s post players wore down in the closing minutes of the second quarter.

“Fatigue comes into play,” Wilkinson County head coach Trimeka Gaines said. “You have to play through being tired, and you have to find it in your heart to push through when you get tired. You can’t give up when you get tired.”

Franklin County then went on an 8-0 run to close out the half with a 24-23 lead.

At the start of the third, the Lady Bulldogs pulled away, forcing turnovers with their press and converting on the other end. Franklin County opened with a 10-0 run and led 34-23 three minutes into the period.

“The third quarter is always difficult for us to get through,” Gaines said. “I don’t know what it is when we come out of the locker room, but we always have a tough third quarter.”

Wilkinson County’s seven-minute scoring drought was ended by two Hall free throws, but the damage had been done. Wilkinson County would make small runs at Franklin County’s lead, but by forcing turnovers and hitting key free throws down the stretch, the Lady Bulldogs were able to hold onto a respectable lead for the remainder of the game.

Sierra Bethley scored 20 for the Lady Bulldogs, while Jamecia Starks provided 18.

Franklin County improves to 6-0 in district, while Wilkinson County falls to 0-7.

 

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