BY RYAN O’LEARY
For the Daily Reporter
FRANKLIN — The Mt. Vernon girls basketball team was able to overcome the mistakes it made early in Thursday’s season-opening game at Franklin.
Down the stretch, however, the Marauders could not overcome Hailee Robbins. The Grizzly Cub sophomore scored 10 of her 23 points in the fourth quarter, helping Franklin hold on for a narrow 55-52 triumph.
Despite the setback, Mt. Vernon coach Julie Shelton saw a lot of things that she liked from her team.
“I saw a lot of good things,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we could have quit in a couple of spots when we got down eight or 10, and we kept fighting back.”
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Mt. Vernon (0-1) erased a 12-point third-quarter deficit and briefly pulled ahead on a pair of occasions in the fourth, the last at 39-38 on two Mary Fleming free throws. Both times, Robbins responded with a basket, and the Grizzly Cubs were able to maintain a slim lead the rest of the way.
Sydnee Perry opened the game with a 3-pointer for the Marauders, but Franklin responded with nine consecutive points and finished the opening period with a 15-9 edge.
Mt. Vernon tightened the game up at the start of the second quarter, getting within one on another Perry 3-pointer and a pair of foul shots from Sophia Williams. The Grizzly Cubs, though, rebuilt their lead to 27-18 by halftime thanks largely to a stifling defense that forced 14 first-half turnovers.
Those giveaways, many of which came before the ball even crossed midcourt, hampered the Marauders offensively.
“That’s been our Achilles heel in practice, and I think it’s going to take a few games and some work before we can fix that,” Shelton said. “When we weren’t turning it over, we looked pretty good.”
Perry got Mt. Vernon going early in the third quarter, converting back-to-back steals into layups to cut the deficit to five.
Franklin again had an answer, scoring seven straight to go up 34-22, but the Marauders closed the period on a 12-2 run to whittle the Grizzly Cubs’ advantage to two.
The momentum carried into the fourth, as Perry was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and converted all of her free throws to put Mt. Vernon up, 37-36. The sophomore finished with 20 points in defeat, the lone Marauder in double figures.
Williams added seven points and 12 rebounds for Mt. Vernon. Maya Elliott finished with 15 points for Franklin.
Franklin 55, Mt. Vernon 52
MT. VERNON (1-0): K. Dunlavy 0 0-0 0, S. Perry 7 3-3 20, T. Freeman 3 0-0 6, M. Fleming 1 4-4 7, S. Williams 2 3-4 7, L. Shelton 2 2-2 6, A. Worley 0 0-0 0, L. Hartl 1 0-0 2, K. Nugent 0 4-4 4. Totals: 16 16-17 52.
FRANKLIN (0-1): P. Wilson 1 0-0 2, M. Elliott 3 7-8 15, K. Baker 2 1-4 5, H. Robbins 8 7-8 23, A. DeArmitt 1 3-5 5, B. Torrance 0 1-2 1, H. Hessman 1 2-2 4, S. Shepard 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 21-29 55.
3-point goals: Mt. Vernon 4 (Perry 3, Fleming), Franklin 2 (Elliott 2).