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WAKE FOREST - Franklin Academy's girls basketball team opened their game against East Wake Academy with a 10-0 run and never looked back from there as the Patriots defeated the Eagles 40-32 at home Monday.
Franklin Academy's defense almost completely shut down East Wake Academy, allowing just six points in the first half. Patriots head coach John Noble said the players did a good job moving around the court and forcing the Eagles to take bad shots.
"We rotated our defense tonight," Noble said. "You can't be set in stone. You have to be able to fluctuate both inside and outside. Sometimes it doesn't work as well as I want it to, but we went to a 3-2 zone defense to press the outside shooters. East Wake Academy is a well-coached team."
Franklin Academy started off the contest with a 10-0 lead, thanks to two back-to-back 3-pointers from Emma Bailey and Molly Dorman. Then East Wake Academy finally dropped in a field goal at the buzzer to make it 10-2 at the end of the first period.
In the second quarter, the Patriots only scored seven points, but the Eagles only mustered four. That made the halftime score 17-6.
In the third quarter, Franklin Academy jumped ahead with their biggest lead of the night at 26-12. East Wake Academy closed the gap to 26-14 just before the end of the period.
Both offenses picked up the pace in the fourth quarter. East Wake Academy threatened to rally back by cutting the deficit to 30-25. However, Franklin Academy outscored them 10-7 in the final few minutes to hold onto the 40-32 victory.
"Posting up is our big thing on offense," Noble said. "When the shot goes up, the girls did a great job of finding a defender to box out. The girls set ball screens and then cut to the basket. We saw flashes of what we're looking for this season. I'm starting to see growth out of the players. We were able to play all the girls tonight to get some game-time experience."
Bailey led Franklin Academy with 11 points, four rebounds, an assist and a steal. Helen Honse did not get much point production with just one two-point field goal, but she hauled in 10 rebounds.
Noble praised point guard Dorman, forward Brooklyn Bardes and freshman guard MacKenzie Mitchell. Dorman scored nine points and recorded two assists, two rebounds and two steals. Bardes also chipped in nine points as well as nine rebounds and a steal. Mitchell only scored two points and grabbed three rebounds in the limited time she was on the court.
"Molly Dorman is a new girl to this school and she has taken the point guard position," Noble said. "She has an old soul. She has a calming effect and is a really good floor general for this team. Brooklyn Bardes is really coming along. We're still working on her footwork, but she's playing with force in the paint. MacKenzie Mitchell is young, but I see some wonderful things out of her."
With the loss, East Wake Academy dropped to 4-7 overall and 3-4 in North Central conference play.
With the win, Franklin Academy improved to 3-7 overall and 2-2 in North Central conference play. The Patriots have had a rough start to the season, but Noble said he is seeing significant progression from his players that makes him optimistic for the rest of the year.
"We need to work on being calm under pressure," Noble said. "When the girls have a defender up on them, the girls tend to rush things. We need to be more careful with the ball and limit those turnovers. The girls have done a lot better job of dealing with pressure on defense."
Franklin Academy will play at Triangle Math and Science Academy in Raleigh Friday Jan. 10 at 6 p.m.