Senior staff writer
Franklin Central’s late-season surge ended Saturday in the 4A Sectional championship game against host Martinsville 71-61.
The Flashes had won four of their last six games before facing the Artesians, who claimed their first sectional trophy since 2008.
FC’s outstanding 6-1 freshman Rachel Loobie dueled 5-10 junior Kayana Traylor throughout the game, while FC senior guard Keyla Hines and junior Meredith Deckard squared off in the backcourt. Loobie wound up with a game-high 27 points, with 19 points in the first half. Traylor exploded for 17 points in the second half. Hines had 16 points.
Deckard did the most damage against the Flashes, hitting two 3-point shots to open the fourth quarter and a 51-41 lead. FC led 34-33 on Hines’ drive to the basket and free throw, but Martinsville went on a 12-5 run to close the third quarter.
“They hit some shots and we didn’t,” FC coach Brian Hacker said. “Their physicality that was allowed on the inside was an issue. It really was boom, boom, boom to start the fourth that hurt us.”
Martinsville hit 25-of-42 shots (59,5 percent), including 9-of 21 from 3-point range; FC hit 24-of-46 (52.2 percent).
Seniors Lindsey Owens and Chessa Mitchell and freshman Katy Larson also started for the Flashes. Freshman Alexus Mobley and junior Madison Potts came off the bench.
“This is the second year in a row we’ve become better, start to finish,” Hacker said. “Our seniors did a great job keeping us together all season and our freshmen gave us a big boost.”
Martinsville is coached by veteran Vince Cerbone of Beech Grove.