Wildcats Hand St. Francis First Delta Loss in One-Point ThrillerJan 12, 2024 09:53PM ● By John Hull, Citizen Sports Editor
Photo by John Hull
Tasiana Carr (No.20) leads Franklin in scoring, averaging 10.8 points a game. Her play Friday led the Wildcats into a first place tie in the Delta League with St. Francis and Cosumnes Oaks
Elk Grove (MPG) – St. Francis brought their noisy, plastic noisemakers made in the shape of a pair of hands and their 3-0 Delta League record into Franklin High School Friday and left with their first loss of the league season, silencing the annoying clappers in the process.
Kim Manlangit’s Wildcats pulled out a 54-53 home court win which lifted Franklin into a tie for first place at 3-1 with the Troubadours, a half-game behind 4-1 Cosumnes Oaks, winners of a 77-31 deluge over Elk Grove that same night.
Dr. Kim’s girls struggled a bit with their offense through much of the game, but got it together in the fourth quarter when it counted. Behind sophomore Tasiana Carr, Franklin stayed atop St. Francis through much of the game, starting in the second quarter when the Wildcats recovered from a slow start.
“I tell them we leave food on the table when we miss layups,” Manlangit said. “That is our Achilles heel, but I think we just did enough. I ask a lot of (Tasiana) and she is just a ‘yes, coach’ kind of player which is everything you need. She’s had such huge growth from her freshman year to her sophomore year. A lot of nights she’s our best player on offense or on defense.”
Both teams struggled much of the contest shooting the ball. St. Francis’ Childera Okoye and Bria McGahan made some key buckets to keep the Troubies close, not allowing Franklin to take much of a lead. Okoye’s short jumper tied the game at 53 with just inside a minute to go.
Manlangit had her girls bring the ball into the front court and then called a timeout with :29.3 left. After the ball was passed in St. Francis’ coach Brittany Woodard had Laila Mendoza foul Franklin’s Aletha Singleton. With the Wildcats in the bonus, it put Singleton at the free throw line. She swished the first shot for the one-point lead at 54-53. The second free throw was missed, but a lane violation gave her a third free throw. Singleton just missed that one, St. Francis rebounded.
With no timeouts left, the Troubies brought the ball into their front court and set up a play. Franklin was called for a foul with :03.4 remaining, but it was just the third team foul on the Wildcats, so St. Francis had a throw-in on the sideline.
The pass went to McGahan who tried to get off a 20-footer for the win, but the shot was partially deflected and the horn sounded ending the game.
Franklin raised its overall record to 12-9. They came into the Delta schedule just a game above .500, playing a tough slate of non-league games in December. In fact, at one point last month, the Wildcats lost five games in a row.
“We wanted to play that tough schedule to be ready for league,” Manlangit said. “We wanted to be ready when we got into these close games. So, yes, that schedule was made to take on some tough competition.”
Franklin had a tough 48-44 loss to Grant on Dec. 2 and dropped a 23-point defeat to Oak Ridge on Dec. 21. But, the Wildcats did win two out of three at the West Coast Jamboree during the holidays.
Manlangit’s energy and quickness she had as a player for the Wildcats more than 10 years ago has seemed to been picked up well by her current players.
“The energy and intensity we play with I picked up when I was coaching with Larry Price that we always bring with us to practice,” she explained. “That way they bring it to the games and they are not asked to do anything they aren’t already used to. I think (this year’s team) has adopted it by the way we’ve played the last three years.”