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Panthers girls team goes 2-0 in holiday tourney

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Whether they shot the ball well or poorly, Franklin Regional's girls basketball players found a way to win.

The Panthers picked up two victories at the Laurel Highlands Tournament last week by defeating the host team on Thursday, 79-52, and topping Thomas Jefferson on Friday, 53-50.

Franklin Regional (5-3) shot 41 percent — 11-for-32 — from 3-point range to easily put away the Mustangs (0-9), but against TJ (3-6), the team overcame a 27-percent night from the floor to escape with its fourth win in five games.

“We got a lot of action there, but we started both games very sluggishly in the first half,” Franklin Regional coach Rick Klimchock said. “We shot the ball really well from behind the arc in the Laurel Highlands game, and in the TJ game, we had a really off game offensively, but our defense hung in there and we made a big shot to win it.”

Erin DiFalco was the one who came through with the big shot against the Jaguars, which was part of her team-high 15 points.

With the game tied and 15 seconds remaining, Mary Komandt stepped to the foul line for the Panthers but was unable to convert either shot. Baylee Buleca kept the ball alive on the rebound and knocked it back to Komandt, who found DiFalco open for the game-winning shot.

Buleca finished the game with 13 points, and both she and DiFalco had double-doubles with 15 and 10 rebounds, respectively. Komandt also pulled down 15 boards for FR.

“We knew we were having a tough game,” Klimchock said. “We told them during the game and after that things weren't going our way, but if we give 100 percent, good things will happen. Erin's shot was the reward for our team not folding up.”

Against Laurel Highlands, five Panthers scored in double figures. Maggie Kimmich led the team with 19 points, Nikki Wesolowski scored 15, Dana Eastman had 12, and both Buleca and DiFalco scored 10.

Next up for the Panthers is a home game against Section 2-AAAA co-leader Gateway, which will be the first game of a doubleheader with the boys team on Friday at 6 p.m.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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