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Franklinton edges out Wake Forest through Miracle Cornell

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WAKE FOREST - Franklinton's Miracle Cornell tied her career-best in scoring to help propel the girls basketball team to victory at Wake Forest Tuesday in a 53-50 win.

It was one of those games where neither team pulled ahead by more than seven points the entire night. Franklinton head coach Matthew Hockaday tried his best to keep his players on task and never let up.

"I was telling the girls to stay focused," Hockaday said. "They had to play through mistakes. We tend to get down when we make mistakes. I told the girls to stay positive and fight through it. That helped us tonight."

Franklinton jumped ahead early on a 9-2 run. The Red Rams ended the first quarter with a narrow 12-5 lead. Wake Forest committed eight fouls in the period compared to Franklinton's three.

In the second quarter, Wake Forest took their first lead of the night at 19-18 with two and a half minutes left until halftime. The Red Rams took back the advantage at 21-20 going into the break.

In the third quarter, both teams improved offensively. After scoring 21 points in the first half, Franklinton poured in 19 in just the third period to take a 40-35 lead.

"During halftime, I told the girls to attack the rim," Hockaday said. "Our shots were not falling in the first half. Lo and behold, we got Wake Forest into foul trouble and made bonus free throws the rest of the way. Free throws helped us throughout the game."

Wake Forest kept it close in the fourth quarter. However, Miracle Cornell kept making shot after shot to keep her team in the lead. The junior small forward finished the night with 26 points. That was her best of the season and tied for the most points in one game for her high school career.

With second-leading scorer Katherine Wilkins fouled out with 16 points and third-leading scorer Amber Rushing injured, Hockaday said it was all up to Cornell to lead the charge for the Red Rams.

"Miracle stepped up for us tonight," Hockaday said. "Katherine fouled out in the fourth quarter. Amber Rushing got hurt. I needed Miracle to step up. She got into position and played a big factor for us. If it wasn't for her, we would have lost tonight."

At the end of the night, Franklinton reigned victorious with a score of 53-50. The Red Rams beat the Cougars 46-45 last year.

With the loss, Wake Forest is still winless at 0-7 overall. The Cougars have not won a game since Feb. 6 when they beat Sanderson on the road.

With their first road win of the season, Franklinton improved to 7-3 overall. Hockaday said that if the girls want to improve after they get back from Christmas break, they will need to recover in time for conference play in January.

"The biggest thing we need to do is rest," Hockaday said. "Our roster numbers are low. Resting over the holiday break is key. Tonight was a hard-fought road win. A win is a win at this point. We'll try to finish out 3-0 before January."

Franklinton will play at South Granville Friday Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. and then start conference play at Fike Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m. Wake Forest will play at Northwood in the first game of their holiday tournament Dec. 27 at 7 p.m.