Greenwood senior Jaren Hornbeak had just hit a 3-pointer to pull the Woodmen within seven points with 1:05 remaining.
But before Franklin could inbound the basketball, the tone of the night changed.
The crowd went silent as one of the referees, Ken Yott of Zionsville, collapsed to the floor. One moment he was standing at midcourt with the other two officials, and the next he just dropped to the floor.
Franklin coach Jerry Bomholt said he saw Yott stumble but wasn’t sure if he just tripped.
“But then when he got back up, and he was white, and he had that look,” Bomholt said. “When he went down again, it was like … We’re just praying for him.”
Support staff and emergency responders rushed to Yott’s aid, forming a supportive wall around him on the court.
After 13 minutes, he was put on a stretcher and wheeled off the court, awake and alert, to cheers from the crowd.
The teams warmed back up for five minutes, and then after a total delay of 20 minutes, the Grizzly Cubs went back to inbounding.
They cruised the last 1:05 and took a 48-38 victory against Greenwood on Friday night, earning a spot in tonight’s Class 4A Center Grove Sectional final against the winner against Franklin Central.
Franklin (16-6) will be looking for its first sectional championship since 2006.
“When you hold a team to 38 points, you feel like you ought to win the game pretty handily,” Bomholt said.
Meanwhile, the Woodmen finished the season 8-13 after having played a competitive game.
“We played hard,” Greenwood coach Bruce Hensley said. “And the game went the way we needed it to go.”
The Woodmen had a six-point lead early in the third quarter, but they couldn’t hold the advantage, missing four key free throws and giving up second-chance points.
“We did not give up (second-chance points) in the first half,” Hensley said. “And (that) was probably the one thing we emphasized the most, we must defensive rebound.”
Greenwood broke a 13-all halftime tie with 3-pointers by sophomore Justin Conley and Hornbeak to take a 19-13 lead early in the third quarter.
“(The Woodmen) come out in the second half and hit two quick threes on us,” Bomholt said. “And then we kind of got lax defensively. Then it was time, we picked up pressure.”
Franklin also attacked the offensive glass in the third, getting seven second-chance points to take a 28-27 lead into the fourth quarter. The lead would’ve been larger but Hornbeak, who finished with a team-high 14 points, converted a three-point play with 2.8 seconds left in the third.
Franklin senior Christian Dickmann had a big part in the third, scoring eight of his 10 points.
“Dickmann and (sophomore Andrew) Hartkorn played as well as they have played, just all-around,” Bomholt said.
The Woodmen didn’t falter through half of the fourth. Conley’s bucket narrowed the lead to Franklin 32-21 with 4:14 remaining.
But Franklin senior Tyler Thomas, who had missed his first seven shots, made two shots surrounded by a bucket from junior Dylan Phair, who also made two free throws, the last to give Franklin a 40-31 lead with 1:33 left.
Phair finished with 10 points. Thomas had eight points and nine rebounds. Hartkorn scored nine points, and senior Bryce Platfoot added eight.
Nobody would mistake the first half for an offensive exhibition.
But after Franklin took the first quarter 4-2, the second quarter sure seemed like it.
Hornbeak, who missed his first three 3-pointers, drilled one with 3:03 left in the first half to give Greenwood a 9-8 lead.
The teams entered halftime tied at 13-all after Phair hit a 3-pointer with about a minute left in the half.
Franklin won the rebounding battle 40-25, while the Woodmen struggled from the field, making just 6 of 25 3-pointers.