JAMESTOWN – The Franklinville girls basketball team (23-0) didn’t spend a whole lot of time relaxing over its winter break from school.
Instead, they used their time off to study and prepare for Saturday’s game and their opponent Panama (21-2), the team who had beaten them the last two years in the sectional final.
All the hard work paid off for Franklinville as it got revenge on Panama, beating them, 65-49, in the Section VI Class D Championship game at Jamestown Community College.
But the preparation for this game started long before February break.
“We’ve talked about this game ever since this team beat us last year on the bus ride home,” Franklinville coach Allan Dunlap said. “They’ve been in the film room every day the past two weeks after practice. It teaches our kids that hard work does pay off.”
The Allegany-Limestone Gators (22-1) have a team that was used to winning big games as they entered the Class C Championship against Holland.
Seven of the 12 players on their roster were members of the Gators’ state-champion girls soccer team.
That experience came in handy Saturday.
Senior captains Morgan Davis and Brooke Giardini made two free throws each on successive trips to the line in the fourth quarter, leading to a 52-43 victory over Holland (20-3) to win the sectional title.
The four points ended a Holland run that brought the Dutchwomen within a possession and got the lead to six with two minutes left in the game.
“That’s what you hope senior captains do,” A-L coach Frank Martin said. “What we ran set up for (Davis and Giardini) to be fouled. We were going to win or lose with them at the line.”
The Gators went back and forth with Holland as the Dutchwomen took a 12-11 lead at end of the first quarter. A-L relied upon Davis as she scored eight of her 16 points in the opening quarter.
Davis then got the rest of the team going after tying the game at 15. The layup sparked a 12-3 run for the Gators. The run gave Allegany-Limestone the 27-18 lead going into the locker room.
Tierney Hemphill knocked down two threes to bring the Gator lead to 10 as the game entered the fourth quarter.
Cassidy Slocum made a two-pointer to start a 13-4 run for Holland. Abby King and Haley Shanahan hit back-to-back threes to cut the deficit to three with 3:55 left.
Giardini led the Gators with 17 points. Slocum had 17 points in the losing effort.
The moment also proved to not be too big for Franklinville sophomore Danielle Haskell, who was the star of the Class D affair.
“We’ve been preparing for this game all year,” said Haskell, who led all scorers with 36 points. “It’s the best feeling ever.”
Amy O’Neal made two free throws halfway through the first quarter, giving Franklinville the lead that it wouldn’t give up.
Haskell started an 8-4 Franklinville run when she came up with a steal that was turned into points on a fast break. The run helped Franklinville take a 32-25 lead into the second half.
Franklinville quickly took control of the game with a steal from Allyson Haskell that turned into points from Bri Broadwell. That started a 10-6 run and Franklinville finished the third quarter on a 9-3 run to end the third with a 14-point lead that they would hold onto in the fourth.
Both Franklinville and Allegany-Limestone will advance to the Far West Regionals next Saturday at Rush-Henrietta High School. The Class D game will tip at 3 p.m. and the Class C game is scheduled to follow at 5 p.m.