Nolensville scored 20 points in the first period, then needed nearly 24 more to post the Lady Knights last 22 in a 42-31 win over Franklin Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the Middle Tennessee Invitational Tournament at the loser’s gym.
The two teams combined to hit their first seven shots combined. Five were 3-pointers, giving the Lady Knights a 12-7 lead early. But Franklin’s defense got sticky in the second, holding Nolensville to a single lay-up in the first five minutes.
“We just had to find a way to grind it out,” said Chris Ladd, head coach at Nolensville. “I told them our defense has really been good these last two days and that’s what keeping us in the game. Sometimes you offense is not going to be there and good hard defense will keep you in the game.”
Zoe Piller led the Lady Knights in scoring with 10 as Nolensville shot just 36.5 percent from the field. Franklin, still missing senior Jill King who is out with an injury, shot just 43.4 percent but got a game-high 16 points from freshman Sydney Ryan.
With the win, Nolensville secured a spot in the tournament championship game Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Franklin against the state’s top ranked Class AA girls team, undefeated East Nashville. The Lady Eagles defeated Nolensville in Nashville last Friday night 68-60.
“We’re looking forward to playing them again," Ladd said. "They are a really good team, obviously, and I feel the more we play really good teams now, the more comfortable we will be in those positions. Tomorrow night is just another chance to play probably the best around right now.”
Nolensville 20 5 8 9 42
Franklin 10 6 13 2 31
NOLENSVILLE (42) – Zoe Piller 10; Leftwich 8; Ladd 8; Matas 5; Nighan 4; Mickulin 4; Baird 3.
FRANKLIN (31) – Sydney Ryan 16; O’Neil 7; Doran 6; McKnight 2.
3 pt shots: Nolensville 6 (Ladd 2, Matas 1, Baird 1, Nighan 1, Mickulin 1); Franklin 3 (Ryan 3)
FT’s: Nolensville 6-of-7 (85.7%); Franklin 8-of-10 (80%)
Turnovers: Nolensville 10, Franklin 17
Personal Fouls: Nolensville 14, Franklin 9
Halftime: 25-16 Nolensville