FR girls basketball needs one more victory
Franklin Regional ended its recent girls basketball slide just in time to get back in the playoff picture.
The Panthers topped McKeesport, 56-40, at home on Friday night to hold on to fourth place in the Section 2-AAAA standings entering the final week of the section season.
Maggie Kimmich scored 14 points, and Baylee Buleca and Hanna Wagner each scored 10 for Franklin Regional (9-10, 4-6), which led Woodland Hills and Penn Hills by one game entering this week. T.T. Burke led all scorers with 18 points for McKeesport (6-13, 0-10).
To clinch a playoff spot, Franklin Regional needs one more section win in its final two games — against Woodland Hills on Tuesday, after this edition's deadline, or at home against Plum on Friday at 6 p.m. — or for both Penn Hills and Woodland Hills to lose one game each of their final two.
“It was a tough week for us with three road games before that, but we played pretty good on Friday,” Franklin Regional coach Rick Klimchock said.
“We shared the ball well, played with enthusiasm and played good defense all night.”
Having three players in double figures and five players with made 3-pointers was another good sign for Franklin Regional, which at times has struggled to get scoring from more than one or two players on a given night.
“We talked about how we need scoring out of more than just Maggie or Baylee. Erin (DiFalco) and Hanna are both very capable of scoring, and Dana Eastman had two big 3-pointers, back-to-back, when we pulled away in the third quarter,” Klimchock said. “We hope to really heat up this week, and making the playoffs will be a nice finish to our season.”
Given that the final section game is against a surging Plum team, Klimchock said he hoped to have a playoff spot locked up before the final game. Having the last three section games at home, all part of girls/boys doubleheaders, is an additional boost for FR's hopes.
“It was good to win Friday to keep pace for a playoff spot, and we're set up nicely with three straight games at home,” he said. “We really want the girls to keep playing hard, intense defense, and we got that against McKeesport. If multiple people can step up as scorers, that's going to really help us in the playoffs.”
In addition to Friday's section finale, Franklin Regional has one more nonsection game on its schedule before the playoffs begin. The Panthers will travel to Ambridge on Monday for a 6 p.m. tipoff.
On the boys' side, Franklin Regional already is eliminated from playoff contention, but the Panthers played spoiler for McKeesport's section title hopes by taking a 60-50 win on Friday.
George Brown had 12 points to lead a balanced Franklin Regional (10-10, 4-8) attack, as Nate Hlozek, Tyler Hamilton and Jake Roberge each scored 11 for FR.
Jamie Grayson led McKeesport (12-6, 8-4) with 11 points.
The win was Franklin Regional's third in its past four games, and it kept alive the Panthers' hopes of finishing the year with a winning record if they can close the year with two more home wins.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.