RUSHVILLE

The Mid-State Conference standings won’t be altered by a Franklin-Mooresville boys basketball game until the night of Jan. 6.

This gives the Grizzly Cubs 10 days to gameplan for possible payback.

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Downright frigid from behind the 3-point arc, beneath the goal and basically everywhere in-between Wednesday night, Franklin lost to the Pioneers 51-47 in the title game of the annual Rushville Lion Classic.

Coach Brad Dickey’s squad finished the night 8 of 26 from long range and 18 of 59 overall.

“We’re not as good as we think we are. We don’t make shots like we think we’re going to make shots,” Dickey said. “We don’t follow our fundamentals correctly. It looks like we’re close to being good shooters, but the proof is in the pudding, and we miss way too many shots on a nightly basis.

“We have kids with enough guts to try the shots, but we need kids with guts and training that will make the shots.”

Leading 21-16 early in the third stanza, Franklin surrendered 11 straight points to the Pioneers, including three consecutive 3-pointers. The Cubs never led again, though a surge late in the fourth got them to within a point at 42-41 at the 2:27 mark.

Led by 6-foot-4 senior forward Brayton Strohmeyer’s 17 points and game-high 15 rebounds, Mooresville made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 1:22 — five by Strohmeyer himself — to maintain the lead.

Franklin junior swingman Cory Richards finished with 11 boards of his own to go along with 12 points. Guard Blaine Wentzell made five triples to lead the way with 17 points.

Aided by a dozen Mooresville turnovers in the first half, the Grizzly Cubs took a 19-16 lead into the locker room despite shooting 8 of 28 (.286) from the floor.

Franklin trailed 12-7 at the 6:32 mark of the second period before going on an 11-0 scoring run started by a Richards layup and culminating in a rebound bucket from backup forward Luke Miles.

Mooresville also struggled shooting the basketball at the outset, connecting on 7 of 24 tries (.292) prior to intermission.

In the morning semifinal, a strong opening period propelled the Cubs to a 67-53 win against the host Lions.

Sparked by a 10-0 scoring run, Franklin busted free from a tie game early to be in charge the rest of the way. Rushville, down by as many as 17 points, put together a run to close within five (53-48) early in the final quarter.

The Grizzly Cubs then went on a 12-2 run to close it out. Richards led all scorers with 20, with Wentzell adding 14. As was the case here a year ago, Franklin ended the day 1-1 and falling short against Mooresville in the finale.

“We did a lot of sweating. We did a lot of running. We spent a lot of energy,” Dickey said. “But we just don’t get the fundamental results that we want to get. Turnovers, mishandling the ball and poor shooting.

“So, yeah, it’s a great exercise day, but it’s not a very good basketball day, and we need to get better.”

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.