Boys basketball programs don’t generally add a game to their schedules the final week of the regular season the way Franklin did.
Friday night’s game at Edgewood, an opponent the Grizzly Cubs haven’t faced since the 2000-01 season, gives coach Brad Dickey one final opportunity to focus on the things that need work before next week’s Class 4A sectional at Whiteland.
“We discussed playing Edgewood on Monday morning, and we got it done Tuesday morning,” said Dickey, who early in his career guided the Edgewood boys basketball program for four seasons (1999-2003) before taking the job at Tipton, his alma mater.
“Edgewood is a good team. They’ll do some things that translate well when it comes to our sectional opponents,” Dickey added.
Franklin drew a bye in the sectional. The Cubs play Tuesday’s Whiteland-Franklin Central winner in the 6 p.m. first semifinal at Whiteland on March 6.
Any chance of defeating a quality Class 3A foe such as Edgewood, much less any Class 4A postseason opponent, hinges on the Grizzly Cubs playing much better than in Tuesday’s 88-67 loss at Perry Meridian.
Junior swingman Cameron Smith, Franklin’s leading scorer with a 17.8-point average entering the game, played only eight minutes after re-aggravating an ankle injury suffered Jan. 2 in a tournament at East Noble High School.
Prior to losing to the Falcons, the Cubs had built themselves a modest three-game winning streak by defeating Columbus North, Roncalli and Mid-State Conference rival Plainfield.
Smith averaged 12.3 points during this stretch while receiving plenty of assistance from 6-foot-4 junior forward Andrew Hartkorn (10.0), 6-3 senior post Nik Welch (9.7) and 5-11 junior point guard Bryce Wentzell (8.3).
“We were moving together better as a team. (Tuesday) we physically weren’t up to speed, and Perry Meridian had a lot to do with that,” Dickey said. “With us having the sectional bye, playing Edgewood is a good thing for our kids under the circumstances.”
By night’s end Dickey will have warmed both coaching chairs at Edgewood. Dickey’s Mustangs defeated Franklin 75-63 in a January game at Edgewood 14 years ago.