For the Daily Journal
Franklin’s slow, steady style frustrated Plainfield all night.
That approach allowed the Grizzly Cubs to pull away for a 48-36 road win and clinch a share of the Mid-State Conference title Friday.
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Franklin never allowed itself to get into a hurry on offense, methodically passing the ball around the perimeter in order to get the perfect shot. For the most part it worked, as the Cubs controlled the tempo and did not trail for the final 29 minutes of the game.
“We’ve had a pretty good go these past few weeks and have nothing to show for it,” said Franklin coach Brad Dickey, whose squad broke a two-game losing streak. “It paid off for us today, and we played together all week long and got a win for it.”
Franklin finishes in a three-way tie at the top of the league standings with Decatur Central and Greenwood. Whiteland’s win against Martinsville kept it from being a four-way tie for first.
Just a total of nine fouls were called in a quick-moving first half that saw Franklin (13-8, 4-2) jump out to a quick 11-3 lead and maintain that advantage through the break. The Cubs only trailed briefly, 3-0, after a Gavin Bizeau 3-pointer for Plainfield less than 30 seconds into the game.
The officials’ decision to let the two teams play freely didn’t lead to a lot of points. Franklin led 21-17 at the half and each team had only two players score.
Franklin distributed the ball better in the second half, getting three more players into the scoring column, and slowly pulled away, leading 32-25 after three quarters and 39-29 midway through the fourth.
Plainfield (12-9, 3-3) made a mini-run late in the fourth, closing to within six late, but Grizzly Cubs closed the game on a 6-0 run to pull away.
“There were a few occasions where we probably went a little faster than we wanted but we covered up really well when we made mistakes and we converted more often than we erred,” Dickey said. “That’s a credit to every guy that played.”
Cory Richards scored 19 points to lead Franklin, while Drew Byerly scored 10.
Franklin closes out the regular season at Perry Meridian on Tuesday and at home against Jennings County on Friday. Sectional play begins the following week, but Dickey plans on enjoying this win.
“We just won our third conference title and we’re going to be happy with that for about 24 hours,” Dickey said. “We’ll start looking ahead after that.”