Cubs earn share of Mid-State title

Franklin Community High School senior key reserve Justin Beasley missed Friday night’s game to attend a Model Congress at Harvard University.

No problem. Seldom-used junior Tyler Craft filled in quite nicely.

“Justin has done a great job of providing (that lift),” Craft said. “We all miss him. Coach (Brad Dickey) told me to step up. I did what I had to do and knocked down some shots in the stretch.”

Craft scored 10 of his 12 points in the second quarter to help shut down a Plainfield run as the Grizzly Cubs won 56-43 in Mid-State Conference action. Senior forward Andrew Hartkorn led Franklin (14-6) with 20 points, and the Cubs shared the Mid-State title with Martinsville with a 5-1 record.

The Cubs, who led 13-4 after the first quarter, expanded the lead to 20-6 before the Quakers (5-14, 1-5) showed signs of life. Plainfield’s 6-0 run cut Franklin’s lead to 20-12. Franklin then held a 11-4 edge the rest of the half.

“It’s cool that we’ve gotten really good lifts form Justin Beasley, and then he goes on very important school trip,” Dickey said. “That was an awesome honor for Justin. We didn’t fret over missing one good guy. We got one more.

“Tyler has been in a few (varsity) games, but we play a lot and practice a lot together. It didn’t surprise anybody that Tyler had a nice game.”

Craft hit two 3-pointers in his second-quarter spurt.

Hartkorn scored 10 points in each half, hitting 6 of 9 shots.

“Andrew has been steady as she goes all season,” Dickey said. “It’s cool to see (senior guard) Cameron Smith have a good floor game. He only had seven points, but he’s been helpful as a teammate.

“That’s a great sharing of the workload.”

Franklin led 43-33 after three quarters. Smith converted a three-point play in the fourth quarter that boosted Franklin’s lead to 46-33 early in the fourth quarter.

Hartkorn said Smith passed well.

“Although he didn’t score (much), he was getting everyone involved,” Hartkorn said.

Hartkorn said it was a total team effort.

“We started out strong and we kept it going,” he said. ““From the starters to the bench players, we all contributed and played a heck of a game. It’s a big win, but we’ll be back out in practice on Monday.”

Dickey said he was proud of the team’s efforts in winning the conference title.

“These kids have earned it with hard years of preparation,” he said. “They deserve to get some digits on a banner. That’s pretty neat.”

The Grizzly Cubs finish the regular season with nonconference home games with Perry Meridian Tuesday and Jennings County Friday.

Max Kurkowski, a 6-7 senior, was high for the Quakers with 14 points.

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Mark Ambrogi is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.