Sometimes, the closest games happen in the most unexpected situations.
Franklin’s game against Principia College proved to be a surprising nailbiter. After not winning since 2018, the Panthers were hungry for a victory, and they almost earned it. A three-point buzzer-beater by freshman Georgia Hanauer saved the game for Franklin with seconds remaining. .
Coach Dana Haggenjos had been preparing the team for that shot.
“We actually practiced that shot a lot in one of our drills. So we knew we’d be on the open floor,” Haggenjos said.
The game started slowly. Senior Jessica Nix was able to score a layup in the first three minutes of play, and once she did the game opened up for the Grizzlies.
Principia struggled to score early on. Franklin’s defense gave them constant troubles, and barely gave the Panthers any chance to rebound. They held them 6-0 for a good portion of the first quarter. However, an impressive three-point shot by Lydia Klutho allowed Principia to close the gap. Franklin’s Hanauer stretched out the margin to eight points after scoring both of her free throw shots with 17 seconds left in the first quarter. The Grizzlies achieved a 16-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Franklin continued to hold their lead, but their fouls began to pile up. Franklin’s lead progressively dwindled until a layup by Panther Georgia Rather set Franklin’s lead at two, which was the slimmest margin of the game thus far. Haggenjos said her team’s fouling caused problems.
“When you send a team to the free throw line 38 times, it’s going to be challenging to try and get a win on that,” Haggenjos said.
With some strong plays by Nix and Sophomore CiCi Bailey, the Grizzlies were able to close out the first half with a 32-27 lead.
Principia came out of halftime with energy and pulled within one point of Franklin in the first two minutes of play. Panther Alana Hinson tied up the score at 34-34 and a layup and free throw made by Tylaih Williams gave Principia the lead for the first time in the game.
Freshman Jasmine Walker briefly brought the score back into Franklin’s favor, but a three-point jump shot followed by another field goal by Alana Hinson put the Panthers back up. By the end of the third quarter, Principia held a tight one-point lead.
During the final quarter, Franklin chased Principia closely. After Grizzly Libby Baker’s layup, Panther Paige Fowler tied up the game at 59-59 and gave Principia a legitimate shot at winning. A timeout was called with two seconds left to go, and it was clear it would take a big play for Franklin to win in regulation.
Then, the big moment came.
Franklin took a risk and went for it. Georgia Hanauer rebounded the ball, took one look at the basket and hit a perfect three-pointer as the buzzer rang. Principia’s losing streak remains intact. The final score was 62-59.
Nix came out on top in total points for Franklin with 13, followed by Bailey with 12. Franklin’s field goal percentage was 28.3%, compared to Principia’s 34.5%.
“We learned today that a win is not given,” Haggenjos said. “We have a really challenging matchup with (Transylvania) coming to town and we have our work cut out for us.”
The game with Transylvania will be at home at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 in the Spurlock Center.