At 6-foot-3, Franklin Community High School senior forward Andrew Hartkorn often has to go against much taller players.
“I take every opponent seriously, whether they’re bigger than me or smaller than me,” said Hartkorn, who had to battle against Southport’s 6-10 Joey Brunk Saturday.
Thursday night, he had to play Brown County, which had 6-4 starter Austin Kritzer and 6-9 reserve Josh Cochran.
Nonetheless, Hartkorn was able to use his inside game to combine with fellow senior Cameron Smith’s outside shooting to help Franklin top host Brown County 62-51 in nonconference action.
“We had good balance, we hit outside shots as well as inside shots,” Hartkorn said. “I couldn’t be happier with my teammates and myself, too.”
Doing most of his damage with put-backs and off post feeds, Hartkorn scored 17 points. Smith was led the Grizzly Cubs (11-5) with 18 points, hitting four 3-pointers.
“He’s (Hartkorn) on the receiving end of a lot of good basketball plays,” Franklin coach Brad Dickey said. “We keep an eye on Andrew all the time. He’s a great hard worker for our team.
“His teammates really appreciate him.”
Leading 12-11, the Grizzly Cubs took control by starting the second quarter with a 9-0 run to take a 10-point lead. The Eagles (9-8) closed the deficit to 23-17 before Jarrett Bertsch, who finished with 10 points, sank a 3-pointer to put Franklin ahead 26-17.
Each team scored three more points in the quarter as Franklin led 29-20 at halftime.
“After that 9-0 run, we got in a huddle and coach talked about getting the ball inside,” said Hartkorn, who scored six points in the second quarter. “We got those defensive stops that we turned into offensive points.”
The Cubs increased their lead to 48-35 at the end of third quarter. Dickey said the 9-0 second-quarter spurt was key after a slow start.
“We weren’t accomplishing the things we wanted to accomplish,” Dickey said. “Some of our substitutes helped us. We had Cameron Rigley throwing post passes and Jacob Rockey running the show. Justin Beasley always works like a madman in there.
“They were able to pitch in there and get us going on that first-half run.”
Overall, Dickey was pleased with the offensive plays.
“Our post feeding improved as the game went on,” Dickey said. “We’re not the biggest team. I know (coaches) get worked up because we don’t throw it in there, but it’s hard to do.”
Franklin had eight turnovers, six fewer than Brown County.
“Our turnovers were very good,” Dickey said. “Some of our shot rhythms weren’t very good. That feels like a turnover, too. We have very good shooters. But if you are out of rhythm and you don’t catch it correctly or it doesn’t comes into you correctly, your percentage falls way off.
“We wanted to play fast and shoot a lot of shots and I feel like we did that.”
Franklin was 7 of 10 from the foul line while Brown County hit 10 of 15 free throws.
Collin Hoskins was the Eagles’ leader with 25 points, scoring nine in the fourth quarter. Jordan Samples added 12 points for Brown County.
This was the start of four consecutive road games for the the Cubs, who play at Columbus North on Feb. 9.