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The Lady Rockets (8-14) let one slip away Monday in a 52-37 loss at Franklin County (17-5).
“We blew a whole lot of opportunities,” SCHS Coach Sally Zimmerman said. “At halftime and during the third quarter I told them the only way to make up for blowing all those chances was to win the game, and obviously we didn’t.”
The Lady Rockets trailed by two after the first quarter and by seven at halftime, 27-20, but they were never out of the game.
During the third quarter Shelby County had several chances to cut the Lady Flyers' lead to just one possession, but the Lady Rockets continued to get in their own way.
Shelby cut the lead to just four, 39-35, after Haleigh LeCompte hit one of two free throws with just less than six minutes to play.
With less than five minutes to play Zimmerman was whistled for a technical foul, and though Franklin County missed the free throws, the Lady Flyers converted on the possession for their first double-digit lead of the game, 45-35. They went on to outscore Shelby, 7-2, the rest of the way.
“I was just trying to get an explanation on a foul call,” Zimmerman said of the technical. “I didn’t think I said anything bad.”
Those two free throws added to a sizeable difference from the line. Franklin County shot 40 free throws in the game, including 22 in the fourth quarter, and Shelby County shot just 25. Despite 65 free throws in the game, both teams were ice-cold from the line. Shelby hit just 48 percent, and Franklin County finished a dismal 37.5 percent from the line.
“That’s just something we have to be able to play through,” Zimmerman said of the disparity in free throws.
The Lady Rockets' biggest problem in the game didn’t seem to be Franklin County as much as it was their own mental mistakes.
“We had 19 turnovers in the game, and I bet more than half of those were unforced,” Zimmerman said. “We didn’t have any offensive flow because we were making too many unforced mistakes.”
Though the Lady Rockets’ offense is struggling, it’s shooting inside the arc that has given the team the most trouble. Shelby was 5-for-14 from 3-point range, 35.7 percent, but just 5-of-29 from two-point range, 17.2 percent.
However, as bad as the offense was at times, Zimmerman was that pleased with the defense.
“I thought we showed a couple of defensive looks that really bothered them,” she said. “We stayed close with a really good team, and we only stopped ourselves from winning. Defensively, we really frustrated them and hopefully we can continue to play like that down the stretch.”
To fix the offense, Zimmerman said she’s running out of ideas.
“We have to be tougher,” she said. “Mentally we’re too soft right now. We’ll try to give them a break on Wednesday and watch some film. We’ll try to find something they can learn from.”