Part 1 of 2
As we get older we tend to look back at little events that have a special place in our hearts. Maybe it was a hot summer day at the beach with our friends or a cool fall afternoon picking apples with family. This past weekend, (Feb 26th and 27th) will be one of those memories for the Franklin Sabers 6th grade girls team and their families
Competing in Merrill WI at the Wisconsin State Invitational Championship Tournament, also known as "State" in youth basketball circles, this squad of 10 girls "did Franklin proud" as many may say.
This tourney hosted 86 schools from all over Wisconsin. These teams are broken into 4 divisions based on high school enrollment. Franklin is considered a large school and therefore is in Division 1 along with 25 other large school teams.
This tourney started out like so many other youth basketball tournaments. Franklin was matched up against last years fourth place finisher Chippewa Falls. This game was hard fought by both teams and although it was a five point game midway through the fourth quarter Franklin had to gamble on the press and Chippewa Falls blew it open in transition, beating Franklin 44 - 24 in game one.
The Franklin girls were dejected by the loss but some quick "ego first aide" by the Franklin coaches got the Sabers ready for game two against Marshfield. The Lady Sabers were aggressive and physical in game two. They did not back down to Marshfield's size and aggressive play, The Sabers took game two 23 - 22.
At 1 - 1 the Sabers were faced with playing a very confident Bay Port team in a must win situation. The Sabers battled to a 7 point lead at the half. Midway through the third quarter Bay Port went on a little run and cut the lead to one point. Franklin called a timeout to regroup but it was evident, the Franklin girls had hit a wall. Their energy was gone and their heads were down. As the teams gathered at their respective benches to discuss strategy a woman's voice was heard from the back of the crowd, "Let's go Sabers Let's go, clap, clap...Let's go Sabers Let's go, clap, clap...Then a man's voice joined in Let's go Sabers Let's go clap clap...then others joined Let's Go Sabers, Let's Go Clap, Clap... soon the entire Franklin crowd was booming LET'S GO SABERS, LET'S GO CLAP CLAP. The girls were watching the fans and smiling, the coaches were trying to get the girls to pay attention in the timeout, but this timeout was not about strategy, this timeout was about energy and when Franklin took the court again the girls had their legs back. The crowd stayed behind the girls throughout the game providing the energy the girls needed. Spectators, players and coaches from other teams began converging to see what all the raucous was about. Some players questioned their parents as to why their fans don't do this. Franklin battled through the last whistle of the game to win 32 - 26.
At 2 - 1 Franklin made the sweet 16 and was matched up against local rival Waukesha West for the fourth game of the day. As the players took the floor the Franklin fans knew their team was going to need help. Before the opening tip "Uncle Doak" whipped the Franklin crowd into a frenzy cheering for the Sabers. The Sabers got out to an early lead and controlled the tempo. Waukesha West mounted a late surge to cut into a ten point lead, but the hearts of the girls from Franklin were just too big on this day and they would not be denied. Franklin advances to the Elite 8 with a 27 - 22 victory.
Here is where Saturday ended. Franklin's first game started at 9:00 am and their 4th game ended just after 8:00 pm. For Sunday's games see Part 2.
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