FRANKLIN — Franklin’s girls basketball team used free throws to propel itself to the 11-AAA tournament semifinals with a 44-28 win over visiting Brentwood on Tuesday.
The fourth-seeded Lady Rebels capitalized on their trips to the line, racking up 20 points from the charity stripe, including 12 in the second half, to earn a matchup with Dickson County in the tourney semifinals at Brentwood High at 4 p.m. Friday.
“That’s an important part of the game,” Franklin coach Darrell Barnwell said. “We were fortunate to put ourselves in a position where they had to foul us and we got to the free throw line and knocked down some free throws.”
No. 5 seed Brentwood fell behind 6-5, but took an 8-6 lead when Sam Courage nailed a 3-pointer before the end of the quarter.
The Lady Bruins (10-14) jumped ahead 10-6 when Olivia Ryals sank a jumper to start the second quarter, but those were Brentwood’s last points of the half as Franklin (14-12) cranked up the defense and ended the half on a 7-0 run to take a 13-10 lead.
The Lady Rebels caught fire in the third, pouring in 18 points and closing out the quarter on an 11-2 run that gave them a 31-16 advantage.
“They made a shot or two that they missed in the first half,” Brentwood coach Ronnie Seigenthaler said. “Then the momentum started rolling in Franklin’s favor.”
The Lady Bruins would try to claw their way back in the fourth, but an 8-0 Franklin mid-quarter run stopped the comeback before it could get started.
Sophomore Abby Unger led the way for Franklin with a game-high 14 points while junior Abby Shealy scored a team-high seven for Brentwood.
The loss marked the first time in more than 15 years that the Lady Bruins failed to get past the first round of the league tournament.
“I never thought that day would come,” Seigenthaler said. “When you’ve been in it long enough, there’s going to be a cycle. Hopefully this is a short cycle.”
Reach Sam Brown at 615-259-8232 and on Twitter @SamBrownTN.