HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – A night after winning a triple-overtime thriller, the Franklin County High School girls basketball team settled matters in the final seconds of regulation Friday.
Kindall Talley hit two free throws with four seconds left to give the Flyers a 51-49 victory over Simon Kenton in the quarterfinals of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare/KHSAA Sweet 16 at Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena.
Franklin County defeated Russell County 72-67 in three overtimes during Thursday’s first round.
“We didn’t have to stay until after Johnny Carson went off the air today, so it was good,” Flyers coach Joey Thacker said.
Talley hit 7 of 8 free throws and scored a team-high 16 points as Franklin County (32-5) – No. 9 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings – ran its state-best winning streak to 17. The Flyers, last year’s state runners-up, will face Holmes in Saturday’s 8 p.m. semifinal.
Franklin County avenged a 67-43 loss to Simon Kenton on Jan. 19.
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“They handed us our head in January, and I had three or four of my coaching colleagues around the state watch that film and emailed me back and said, ‘Well, good luck in the district because that may be all you get to do,’” Thacker said. “I told our kids they didn’t have to play great but they had to hang around, and that’s what they did.”
The back-and-forth game featured 11 ties and 10 lead changes, and neither team led by more than seven points.
Talley’s 3-pointer with 24 seconds left gave Franklin County a 49-47 lead with 24 seconds left, and Madi Meier’s tip-in tied it at 49 with 12 seconds left.
Talley drove the lane, was fouled with four seconds left and nailed both free throws. Simon Kenton’s Ally Niece missed a 3-point try at the buzzer.
The final seconds. Looks like they would have counted Niece's shot at buzzer, and it's really close whether it was off in time. Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/T1mJD6710Z— Jason Frakes (@kyhighs) March 11, 2017
Niece, a junior who has committed to Northern Kentucky, led the No. 3 Pioneers (28-7) with 22 points.
“We didn’t play hard enough, we didn’t play smart enough, we didn’t play through things,” Simon Kenton coach Jeff Stowers said. “We didn’t play to win. All of those little things add up when you get to games of this magnitude. … If you don’t do the little things, this is what happens.”
Holmes 58, Henderson County 48: Tyrah McClendon-Englemon posted 27 points and seven rebounds to lead the No. 12 Bulldogs (29-5) over the No. 17 Colonels (28-6).
Down 30-25 at halftime, Holmes shot 60 percent (9 of 15) in the second half to rally for the victory. Henderson County shot just 23.8 percent (5 of 21) in the second half.
Emma Lander had 18 points and eight rebounds to lead Henderson County but fouled out with 3:30 left.
The Colonels played without top scorer and rebounder Alisha Owens (19.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg), who suffered a knee injury in Saturday’s Second Region final victory over Webster County.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and email@example.com.
FRANKLIN COUNTY 51, SIMON KENTON 49
SIMON KENTON (28-7) – Shelby Harmeyer 3p; Bailee Harney 11p; Ally Niece 22p, 7r; Madi Meier 6p, 8r; Maggi Jones 5p; Megan Buckner 2p, 3s.
FRANKLIN COUNTY (32-5) – Kindall Talley 16p, 5r; Princess Stewart 6p, 7r; Rebecca Cook 9p, 5r; Brooklynn Miles 8p; Savannah Courtney 12p, 5r, 3s.
HOLMES 58, HENDERSON COUNTY 48
HENDERSON COUNTY (28-6) – Jalee Carter 5p; Alyssa Dickson 8p; Emma Lander 18p, 8r; Mary-Kate Daniel 1p; Breanna Chester 5p, 6a; Emilee Hopes 11p.
HOLMES (29-5) – Laila Johnson 6p; Kamari Graham 3p; Latavia Keith 2p; Tyrah McClendon-Englemon 27p, 7r; Jaynice Stovall 17p, 4s; Megan Beckett 3p.