But "Shoeless Estella Adams," Franklins rock solid star point guard, realized her duffle bag was light because she forgot to pack her shoes.
"They need to be size nine," Adams told her teammates trying to help solve this conundrum before the game. In stepped Haven Goodman who offered up her shiny new purple and grey sneakers for Adams to don in time for the opening tip-off.
But as her head coach Ryan Justice explained, it was because the layup actually went in.
"It's a nice little inside joke with the team... you can put this in print," said Justice. "Stella has issues making layups for some reason, even wide-open ones. Everyone got really excited because she made a wide-open layup. It's unbelievable, she can make threes left and right, but she can't make a wide-open layup for some reason."
Maybe it was the shoes
Franklin had a fairly easy time against a Cambridge team that graduated all of its starters last year. The Spa started out hot, holding Franklin scoreless for almost half of the first quarter. With the score tied 5-5, Justice called a timeout to have a bit of a talk with his almost lethargic team. "You're just letting them window shop out there," he said with some gesturing indicating Cambridge wasn't being challenged. "Get after them."
Franklin came out with a 10-2 run to end the quarter up 15-7.
In the second, they only allowed the Blue Devils four more points. They weren't exactly burning up the net themselves but added 11 before the break.
"We were just a little sloppy," Justice admitted. "In two road games so far, we haven't really shot the ball well. Against Grove City, we couldn't throw it in the ocean. The same kind of deal tonight. We picked it up defensively, that's what I like to see."
They only allowed 11 points in the first half and they only allowed 11 in the second, including the five final points of the game when Franklin sat their starters.
"We need to be a defensive-minded team. I think we have the ability to lock up just about anybody when we want to; when we have the mindset to do so," Justice said. The Knights are riding a four-game winning streak after dropping two in their tip-off tournament.
"Our goal from day one has been to win a region title and win a district title," he said. "When we lost to CASH last year in the playoffs we were in the gym the next weekend." That's what the girls wanted, Justice emphasized and they've been working hard toward that goal all year and through the summer.
He said the four seniors, Adams, Jennifer and Jamie Blum and Kirsten Hicks along with junior Katie Boal have a chance for a really special season. "We think we have a chance to be pretty good. It's a tough region. Warren is tough. Conneaut is tough. Oil City, Corry, Fairview and Harbor Creek are all very good," he said. "But we believe, if we can get the right mindset, we can win this thing."
Boal and Jamie Blum led the way with 10 points each. Jennifer Blum was right behind with nine and Hicks threw in eight. Adams tossed down another jumper and a three to end with seven. Halle Curry put in three and Sydney Stevens hit a free throw for the Knights.
Cambridge's Sydney Zillhaver and Brooke Eldred each had six. Brooklyn Cole and Kylie Hogues each added three. Payton Leandro scored two and Lili Shultz and Jada Muraski each got a free throw to to fall.
Moving forward Justice is looking for his team to build the mindset that they can win at any level. He said Boal would be unstoppable if she can get a "tough as nails" mindset. "She hasn't even scratched the surface of how good she can be."
He knows with teams concentrating on her and Adams that the rest need to have important minutes and sink buckets. "It's important for us to have Jamie and Jenn score. Everybody has been collapsing on Katie and closing out Stella real hard, so it is important for the Blum twins to get out there and score and that Kirstin chip in as well," Justice explained. "Teams will be giving them open shots, so if they can knock those down with confidence we can pretty damn good."