Pushing forward to the inevitable rematch at archrival Oak Creek on Jan. 29 with great skill and confidence, the Franklin girls basketball team is playing the way coach Tony Kathrens thought it could.
The Sabers buried Racine Park, 60-13, on Jan. 12 and then overpowered a sound Kenosha Tremper squad, 68-42, on Jan. 15 to improve to 6-1 in Southeast Conference play and 10-4 overall.
Saber coach Tony Kathrens is taking a philosophical attitude towards his team's respected nemesis the Knights, which the Sabers have not beaten in far too long.
'We're very pleased with the way we're playing,' said coach Tony Kathrens. 'We played very well against Tremper and now if we take care of our next two games, the backdrop will be set to the recurring story.'
The Sabers have won seven in a row since that frustrating 61-46 defeat at the hands of Oak Creek on Dec. 15. Before they get to the Knights, however, they will need to take care of Racine Case (3-4 in league play) on the road on Friday, Jan. 22, and then visit Kenosha Bradford (0-7) on Jan. 26.
Kathrens is working on the Sabers' mental toughness at this point, that when they get a comfortable lead, they should work the ball a little, look to get it inside or get fouled.
'I know it's not how we normally do things,' he said, 'but especially when we get a lead, we need to be able to take the air out of the ball. Get quality possessions, making quality passes and get a good shot. Do a little grinding.'
Franklin had a chance to do a little of that against Tremper and a lot of it against Park. The Sabers built a 36-22 lead on Tremper at the half and then gradually worked the lead past 20 points. A total of 10 players scored as Carly Graverson led the way with 16 points, while Abby Schauer had 13, Sarah Neumann 10 and Lauren Logic eight.
'A lot of people turned it up this game,' Kathrens said. 'Sarah (Neumann) scored 10 points early, and Carly (Graverson) had another magnificent game despite the fact that she didn't play the last 10 minutes.'
Against Park, the lead was 40-8 at the half. Nine players scored this time as Graverson scored 18 (nine of 14 shooting), Madison Schell 14 and Schauer seven. Schell knocked down four 3-pointers.
Overall, Kathrens has been very pleased with the play of Schauer and Eva Oklobdzija and noted that junior forward Megan Lee has been fitting the role of 'grinder' perfectly.
'She got hurt against Kenosha St. Joe's (in the final of the Rathke Tourney), but she's come back,' he said. 'What she does well doesn't really show up in the box score, and she's not really interested in credit, but she does all our weakside rebounding. She just works so hard, a real pleasure to coach.'