Refocused Rustin girls come through in state playoffs

Rustin's Adashia Franklyn comes down with a rebound against Neshaminy High. "Every win we get at this point, we are making history," Franklyn said.
Rustin's Adashia Franklyn comes down with a rebound against Neshaminy High. "Every win we get at this point, we are making history," Franklyn said. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 11, 2014

Adashia Franklyn called it "team building."

Her head coach at West Chester Rustin, Leah Kim, described it as a "team meeting."

Whatever it was that the Rustin girls' basketball team took part in after tough, back-to-back losses in the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA tournament, the terminology did not matter.

The result is what mattered.

Kim wanted her team to reflect on why it plays the game before the Golden Knights' first-round state playoff contest Friday. So the players sat and talked.

"Whenever things get tough, you have to remember why you wanted to play in the first place," said Franklyn, a senior forward. "It made us think that we wanted to go far because we have a love for the game."

The strategy worked. Rustin came out swinging and beat Manheim Township, 71-47, winning the program's first state playoff game. It was another first for the team over the last two seasons.

"I love it," Franklyn said. "Getting so close last year and then not coming through - I just wanted to make up for it. Every win we get at this point, we are making history."

Led by the powerful Franklyn and explosive junior guard Noelle Powell, the Knights are looking to build on their momentum. Rustin will play District 11 champion Parkland in the second round Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) at Souderton.

Franklyn and Powell provide the offensive spark, but Franklyn and Kim praised the other members of the team for igniting the squad, especially on defense. In particular, the play of freshman Courtney Warley has stood out.

"You don't see a lot of that in the box score," Kim said. "[Warley] and Annie Pitts, you don't read a lot about them, you don't see a lot about them, but we don't do a lot of the things that we do without them."

With the losses in the district tournament behind the Knights, Kim believes that her team has come together, bounced back, and shown resilience.

She said the Knights are back doing the things that earned them a second straight Ches-Mont title and a berth in the Final Four of the District 1 playoffs.

"We've had the talent, but you can have all the talent in the world and you still have to go out, produce, and get it done," Kim said.


Girls' Basketball Top 10

GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Records are through Sunday.

Previous rankings in parentheses.

1. Neumann-Goretti (1) 26-0

2. Archbishop Wood (2) 23-3

3. North Penn (3) 25-3

4. Spring-Ford (4) 24-6

5. Shipley (5) 22-5

6. Mount St. Joseph (6) 27-3

7. Bonner-Prendergast (7) 19-6

8. West Chester Rustin (8) 25-6

9. Central Bucks West (9) 21-7

10. Cardinal O'Hara (10) 17-9

Also under consideration (listed alphabetically): Archbishop Carroll (15-9), Germantown Academy (20-7), St. Basil (22-5).

- Kate Harman

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