For The Daily Journal
For one quarter Tuesday night, Franklin outplayed the state’s second-ranked girls basketball team.
But eventually, undefeated Columbus North’s size and quickness took over, and the Bull Dogs recovered to win their 43rd consecutive game, a 74-58 victory against a pesky Grizzly Cubs squad.
“I don’t think they were (intimidated) at all,” Franklin coach Walt Raines said. “They came here to play basketball and win the game. North is just a pretty tall order.”
The Grizzly Cubs (8-11) forced five Bull Dogs turnovers in the first 3½ minutes and led 10-4 with 3:38 left in the first quarter. North (18-0) scored six in a row to tie it, but two free throws by Allison Barnard gave Franklin a 12-10 lead after one quarter.
The Bull Dogs began the second quarter on a 10-1 run to take a 20-13 lead. North built the margin to 35-23 at halftime and 56-37 after three quarters.
The Bull Dogs’ biggest lead came at 63-40 with six minutes left in the game. Shortly after that, North coach Pat McKee emptied his bench.
“I thought we really played focused and did the things we talked about early on — attack up the floor and use our quickness a little bit — and I thought our kids did a nice job,” Raines said. “The second quarter, I thought North’s size took over a little bit. We lost our poise a little bit, but overall I thought we played pretty well for the majority of the game.”
Four Bull Dogs starters scored in double figures, but North’s bench played a key role in its comeback at the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter.
“Our bench did give us a big lift, Emily Kim in particular,” North coach Pat McKee said.
Franklin’s Delanie Hill led all scorers with 22 points. Barnard led the Grizzly Cubs, who were plagued by 24 turnovers, with eight rebounds.
Ashlyn Huffman led the Bull Dogs with 12 points. Franklin held North’s leading scorer, Maliah Howard-Bass, to eight points. That was the first time this season that she didn’t reach double figures.
“Defensively, we did the things we were capable of doing,” Raines said. “Their quickness and their size just wears people down. They’re by far the best team we’ve seen and a legitimate state contender again.”