TROY — After not winning a sectional tournament game since 2012 the Northmont girls basketball team Wednesday won its second consecutive sectional game with a 60-53 victory over Franklin.
Northmont had to contend with Franklin sophomore center Layne Ferrell, who stands at least 6-feet, 2-inches tall. Ferrell led the Lady Wildcats with 23 points, 15 of which came in the second half. With two more years left in her high school career she is already getting offers from Division I college teams.
The Lady Bolts were able to counter Ferrell with a solid one-two scoring punch by guard Makayla Cooper and center Shalaya Heath. Both scored 19 points to help power Northmont’s victory.
Heath scored all of her points inside while Cooper buried a pair of key 3-pointers late in the third quarter to boost Northmont’s confidence.
Northmont led 14-8 at the end of the first quarter and 22-15 at halftime, but Franklin came storming back in the second half with a 9-0 run to take a 24-22 lead. Cooper drew a foul from Skyler Weir on a three-point attempt and sank the first two free throws. She snared her own rebound on the missed third shot and scored to put Northmont back on top 26-24.
Franklin regained the lead 30-28 when Ferrell sank a pair of free throws but Salena Roberts drew a foul inside from Emily Newton and sank both shots to tie the game with 3:01 remaining in the third stanza. Cooper scored back-to-back treys to give the Lady Bolts a 38-34 lead entering the final eight minutes of play.
Heath sank a pair of free throws to open the fourth quarter and then scored inside off a steal by Erin Mangen to boost the lead to 42-34. Franklin got a bucket from Kaylee Harris and Ferrell buried a 3-pointer to cut Northmont’s lead to 42-39, but after that the Lady Bolts began to pull away.
Heath scored back-to-back buckets and drew a foul and sank the bonus to put Northmont up 47-39. Franklin countered with a basket by Ashley Fisher. After a Northmont turnover Franklin put up an errant shot and Erin Mangen scored to give the Lady Bolts an eight point cushion. Cooper came up with a steal and took it in for a score and then scored again after a Franklin turnover. Anna Mangen also came up with a steal and scored to boost the Lady Bolts’ lead to 55-41 with 2:50 remaining.
From there Northmont was able to cruise to the seven point win.
“I thought we really stepped it up in the second half,” said Northmont Coach Bethany Kincer. “Franklin did a good job coming out strong in the second half and kind of made us bounce back, and we did. We bounced back and got a couple of solid threes in a row by Cooper that I think kind of gave us the momentum to keep going. We also finally got some strong box outs and strong rebounds and just ran the floor really well.”
After a four year drought the Lady Bolts now have two sectional tournament wins but will have to face Wayne in the next round, a team that defeated Northmont 70-31 on January 4. Northmont and Wayne will play at 6 p.m. on Friday, also at Troy High School.
“Two tournament victories feels good,” Kincer added. “These girls are fighting and are not wanting the season to end and I think that is the biggest thing. They don’t want it to be over, so it is easy coaching them when they are wanting it as much as they are.”
Heath led Northmont with nine rebounds and Jenna Hoschouer had eight. Cooper, Anna Mangen and Erin Mangen each had three steals in the victory.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind
FRA 08 15 34 53 – 53
NMT 14 22 38 60 – 60
Franklin: Kaylee Harris 2, Emma Bicknell 4, Skyler Weir 7, Jessica King 2, Ashley Fisher 8, Layne Ferrell 23, Brooke Stover 2, Emily Newton 5. Totals: 18-14-53.
Northmont: Makayla Cooper 19, Jenna Hoschouer 2, Anna Mangen 2, Antonette Dorsey 2, Salena Roberts 7, Erin Mangen 9, Shalaya Heath 19. Totals: 21-13-60.
3-point goals: Franklin 3 (Ferrell 2, Weir); Northmont 5 (Cooper 3, E. Mangen 2).
Records: Franklin 15-9, Northmont 11-13.