Columbus North had the ball with a chance to tie or win in the closing seconds Tuesday night but couldn’t get off a shot.
As a result, visiting Franklin was able to pull out a 55-51 victory to extend its winning streak to three games.
The Grizzly Cubs led 53-49 with 48 seconds remaining before North’s Jaylen Flemmons scored to cut the lead to two with 35 seconds left. Trenton Kelley came up with a steal at the other end, and the Bull Dogs called timeout to set up a play.
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North had trouble finding an open player, and after Trey Vincent fell to the ground in the lane, the Bull Dogs called timeout with 3.8 seconds left. Franklin’s Blaine Wentzell intercepted the inbounds pass and hit both ends of a one-and-one with 2.7 seconds remaining to put it away.
“We had a lot of good communication on the court trying to deal with their talented players,” Franklin coach Brad Dickey said. “We made several switches and substitutions, but we didn’t lose our scouting report. We were trying to put the percentages in our favor by guarding their shot or their dribble drive, or both.”
The game featured 10 lead changes and four ties after the Grizzly Cubs (12-6) jumped out to an early 8-2 lead.
Trailing 14-10 after one quarter, North (11-8) used a 12-2 run to open the second quarter and take a 22-16 lead. The Bull Dogs led 26-25 after three quarters, and after a back-and-forth third period, Franklin led 39-38 entering the final eight minutes.
North grabbed its final lead on a three-point play by Flemmons to open the fourth quarter. But after baskets by the Grizzly Cubs’ Drew Byerly and Luke Miles, Franklin never trailed again.
“I thought there were a few key moments in the game where we gave up offensive rebounds,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We didn’t give up many, but there were two that were big momentum plays for Franklin after we had a pretty good defensive possession and just didn’t finish it.”
Byerly finished with 18 points and four rebounds to lead the Grizzly Cubs.
“I just tried to go out there and play my game,” Byerly said. “My teammates got me the ball, and they did their thing. It was a good team win. Coach gave us a good game plan, and we went out and executed it the best we can. I think we’re playing a lot better and playing well as a team.”
Reece Thomson added 12 points and four rebounds for Franklin. Cory Richards chipped in 10 points.
The Grizzly Cubs shot 50 percent (7 of 14) from 3-point range and were 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.
“The guy who really hurt us was Byerly,” Ferguson said. “He was a tough matchup for our guys. He used his size and physicality to work us down low. It was a big 18 points for that kid.”
Dickey said good team play led to good shooting.
“We just played well as a team, and it helps you shoot when things go like we practice them, and Drew Byerly was a big part of helping that,” Dickey said. “Then, we got contributions from all seven spots.”