Preps: FRA girls see Saturday's game at Knoxville Webb as a playoff preview

Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 9:26pm

Franklin Road Academy knows a repeat of its 2011 Division II-A girls state championship likely include a victory — perhaps more than one — over Knoxville Webb, again.

The Panthers, who knocked off Webb in both the region and state finals last year, will get a sense of just what is required in that regard when they visit the Spartans on Saturday in the lone regular-season matchup between the two teams this season.

FRA is 22-3 overall and unbeaten in region play after its 44-32 win at Donelson Christian Academy on Tuesday as junior Derica Wyatt and senior Christine Matthews scored 13 and 12 points, respectively.

It hopes to run its current win streak to 10 games Friday at Zion Christian. Then comes the trip to Knoxville where the Panthers wind up a three-game road trip this week.

“There’s a lot we need to work on, especially some of the little things, to get better,” coach Chris Hart said. “We’re still not getting off to good starts in games that I wish we could, but we’ve been finishing well, and that’s encouraging.

“The game at Webb will give us a good idea as to exactly where we are late in the season against a really outstanding team.”

Wyatt, FRA’s leading scorer and a 2010 Miss Basketball winner, had several different emotions as she looked toward the game at Webb.

“I have a lot of mixed feelings. I’m excited, I’m scared, and I’m a little nervous,” the 5-10 shooting guard said after her team’s 48-32 win over Ezell-Harding last Friday. “It certainly will be a big test for us. A lot of it is a state of mind. It’s so mental. We can’t continue to start out slow, like we keep doing in recent games.

“It will be a lot like a tournament game.”

As he looked down the road to the postseason, Hart said, “We have a lot of things going for us. We have a veteran team, a group of girls who like each other and a great leader in Derica.”

After this week, FRA will be heavily favored in its final four regular season games, heading into the DII-A Middle/East tournament.

State Bowling: The TSSAA state bowling tournament opens Friday, with Nashville heavily represented in the DII field. Eight of the 16 teams are from the area.

In girls quarterfinals, Pope John Paul II faces undefeated GPS, Donelson Christian meets St. Agnes; St. Cecilia takes on St. Benedict; and Harpeth Hall gets St. Mary’s.

In boys quarterfinals, DCA faces Ensworth in an all-Nashville matchup. The remaining matchups include with Montgomery Bell Academy vs. St. Benedict; Battle Ground Academy vs. Memphis University School; and Lausanne vs. McCallie.

Nashville has no teams competing in DI.

Wrestling: Powerhouses Father Ryan and MBA stage their annual rivalry showdown Saturday at 6 p.m. at MBA before an expected packed house.

It is the final big tuneup for both before the state DII duals go at the Franklin Ag. Center Feb. 2-3. Ryan remains No. 3 and MBA No. 10 in the weekly prep coaches’ poll.