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Franklin Academy falters as Falls Lake pulls away

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WAKE FOREST — It was a tight game for the first three quarters of Franklin Academy’s girls basketball home game against Falls Lake Academy. However, the Firebirds made a stretch of big plays at the end to hold off the Patriots 57-39 on Tuesday.

After Franklin Academy’s Emma Bailey made a 3-pointer to start off the game, Falls Lake scored 11 unanswered points. The Lady Patriots went into the second quarter down 17-10.

In the second quarter, Franklin Academy outscored Falls Lake 10-9 and the Firebirds held a narrow 26-20 lead at halftime.

In the third period, both teams traded baskets and scored 14 points each. Franklin Academy was hanging in there, but Falls Lake still held the lead at 40-34 by the end of the period.

In the fourth quarter, Falls Lake took their first double-digit lead of the night at 48-37. The Patriots could not climb back and got into foul trouble. The Firebirds soared to victory at 57-39.

Franklin Academy head coach John Noble said Falls Lake finally broke through on their man-to-man defense and it showed in the final period.

“We’ve been working on our man-to-man defense,” Noble said. “I was proud of the girls for working on their responsibilities. We’re trying to implement something these girls have never done before. This team is growing.”

With the loss, Franklin Academy dropped to 7-10 overall and 5-5 in North Central conference play. The Patriots started off the new year with high hopes after winning five of their past seven games. Now Franklin Academy has lost back-to-back matches.

“The biggest thing for us is self-discipline,” Noble said. “We’re going to be pressing and playing more man-to-man defense and motion offense. It’s like wearing a new pair of shoes. You have to get broken in before you get comfortable in them. Falls Lake is a good team. The girls gave effort all the way from the beginning to the end. We don’t want to play scared. Making mistakes is gaining experience.”

Franklin Academy will play at East Wake Academy on Friday, Jan. 31., at 6 p.m.