BRANCH — Mulberry took County Line out of its uptempo game Thursday.
Then, in a span of two minutes, the Indians found another gear that kept them within a game of 1A-West leading Scranton.
Evan Franklin scored 10 points and the slow-starting Indians held off Mulberry, 42-30.
"Every time we play Mulberry, they try and slow us down," Franklin said. "We have trouble getting it up and down the floor, because they’re so good at slowing us down."
County Line (22-4, 7-1) led by just 10 at the the half, and saw its lead shrink to eight early in the fourth quarter when Audie Stringer scored for the Yellow Jackets.
"We wanted to hopefully control the tempo and make them work every time down," Mulberry coach Jim Anderson said. "They’re a good ballclub, so you have to make them work for everything they get."
But County Line’s Cody Goodson, Franklin and Kelvin Moore responded with baskets that extended the lead to 35-19.
County Line coach Joe Brunson left immediately afterward for home. The Indians’ coach has been battling the flu.
"It was kind of weird, he wasn’t his normal self over there on the bench," Franklin said. "He wasn’t getting after us."
Senior Trent Gattis had a different take.
"He didn’t want us to know he was sick, so he made sure to lay it on us, just like normal," Gattis said. "We had a hard time keeping our momentum. He told us before the game to keep it fast. I guess we just couldn’t get it going."
County Line led 11-4 after one quarter of play, and Gattis’ only 3-pointer of the game extended the Indians’ lead to 18-7 with 3:39 left in the first half. But County Line managed just one more field goal the rest of the half, with neither team able to generate any sort of run.
"County Line always does a good job playing defense and shots are tough to come by," Anderson said. "When you get an opportunity, you have to make them. We did what we wanted to defensively."
Mulberry 62, County Line 29 (Women’s)
Brittany Edwards shook off last Saturday’s 1-for-13 effort by hitting five 3-pointers and finishing with 17 points Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets rebounded from their first 1A-West loss.
Mulberry (18-6, 7-1) trailed by three early on before scoring 14 points in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the first quarter. Edwards put Mulberry ahead for good with her first 3 of the night.
"She’s pretty consistent, but she has a tendency to get her head down a little bit, and that’s what she did the other night," Mulberry coach Adam Carlton said. "Most of the time she shoots it well. Taylor (Naegle) has been shooting it well also."
Naegle added a trio of 3-pointers and Lexi Voorhees finished with 13 points and six rebounds.
"We didn’t shoot it very well, we didn’t play very well, and we looked like we weren’t really there the other day in Scranton," Carlton said. "I don’t know if it was Saturday or what. We wanted to come out and make sure we played well."
Senior Chenoa Nichols led County Line (7-16, 3-5) with 10 points.