Central Noble beats Frankton 52-44 in Class 2A semi state game, advances to first ever state finals

Central Noble players and fans celebrate at mid-court of Logansport's "Berry Bowl" Saturday after a semi state win over Frankton. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)
Central Noble junior Sydney Freeman lays in a shot during the second half of Saturday's Class 2A semi state game at Logansport. The Cougars beat Frankton to advance to their first state title game. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)
Central Noble junior Meleah Leatherman puts up a shot against a Frankton double team in the second half of Saturday's semi state win. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)
Central Noble freshman Bridgette Gray looks for an opening in the Frankton defense. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)

To say that Central Noble started slow in their semi state game, a 52-44 win, on Saturday afternoon would be an understatement. The Cougars took six minutes to score their first points of the game, but once they found a comfort zone, they slowly took control away from Frankton.

They will now head to next weekend’s Class 2A state title game where they will face Winchester. It is Central Noble’s first ever appearance in the state finals.

In was at the 2:00 mark of the first quarter when junior Meleah Leatherman hit a pair of free throws to give the Cougars their first points in a game that was 1-0 in Frankton’s favor for much of the first quarter. Somehow though, when the Cougars struck, they struck fast. A Sydney Freeman three and Leatherman basket added to Central Noble’s point total and they led 7-5 after one quarter.

“We didn’t do a very good job early, but I think as the game went on, our girls did a really good job of getting into what we do,” Central Noble coach Josh Treesh said post game, his voice raspy under a wide grin.

In the second quarter, scoring opened up for both teams but the Cougars were able to hold Frankton to 1-of-8 shooting from three point range, one of the primary weapons if the Frankton offense. Another weapon for Frankton, center Destyne Knight was held to just five points and three rebounds in the first half due to foul trouble. She picked up her third foul during the second quarter.

Treesh used Leatherman sparingly and intelligently in the second quarter after she picked up her second foul of the game. At times, Treesh pulled an often late game plan by alternating Leatherman in on offense and sophomore Sam Brumbaugh in on defense.

With a halftime lead, it was really the second half when the Cougars got comfortable. They outscored Frankton 16-4 in the third quarter, taking advantage of Frankton’s Destyne Knight, who was on the bench with four fouls. Central Noble got to the basket on multiple occasions in the third quarter and took a 40-27 lead into the final quarter.

“They executed really well there in that third quarter and defended our butts off to get us the lead we needed and here we are. This is the greatest feeling in the world,” Treesh said.

At one point, an 18-0 run put Central Noble up by a game high 15 points.

Frankton threatened down the stretch, getting some timely shots from leading scorer Sydney Tucker, but the Cougars stayed composed to earn their first state title game bid.

“12 [Tucker] got loose there a little bit at the end, but she was taking 23, 24 foot shots. That’s what we wanted,” Treesh said. “I thought our girls did a good job of sticking to the gameplan.”

Leatherman led the Cougars with 21 points and 15 rebounds while fellow junior Freeman scored 15 and had four assists. Senior Calista Rice added five points including a big three pointer in the second half as part of the big Cougar run.

“Our fans are extremely supportive, they are loyal, they have been with us all year,” Treesh said. “We have the best fans in the whole state of Indiana.”