Bryce Platfoot’s Friday evening started innocently enough. Six first-half points, a rebound or two. Nothing terribly out of the ordinary.
Once the 6-foot-3 junior delivered a 3-pointer along the left baseline with eight-tenths of a second remaining in the third quarter, there was no stopping him or his team.
By scoring Franklin’s first nine points in the final period, Platfoot led the Grizzly Cubs’ rally in what ended up a 54-45 victory at Whiteland’s Glenn Ray Gymnasium.
The win is Franklin’s 10th straight, the program’s longest streak since the 1996-97 ball club rattled off 12 straight before losing to Delta in the championship game of the Hinkle Semistate.
Platfoot finished with a game-high 19 points and the praise of his coach.
“That 3-pointer he hit was a big momentum shift for us,” Grizzly Cubs coach Jerry Bomholt said. “Bryce stepped out there, and that was big. And when we’re pressing, we’ve got to have him out there.”
Whiteland had led by as many as eight points. Platfoot’s trey cut the lead to four at 35-31. Franklin’s trapping defense then began taking its toll on the Warriors, who turned the ball over 11 times in the fourth stanza alone.
A Platfoot steal and layup with 7:10 remaining gave the Grizzly Cubs a 36-35 advantage, their first lead since 8-7 late in the opening quarter. Eighteen seconds later, he had another bucket courtesy of Tyler Thomas’ swipe of a Warriors pass.
Whiteland scored four straight free throws after a Franklin technical foul to briefly regain the lead at 39-38 at the 6:31 mark. The score was tied at 44-all when 6-5 forward Nick King, who had been in foul trouble much of the game, had two plays designed for him in the final three minutes.
The junior capitalized both times in close, the starting blocks of Franklin’s 10-1 scoring run to close out the game.
“We felt we could make a layup the way Whiteland was playing its zone. Those were big baskets for us at critical times,” Bomholt said.
Whiteland fell to 5-8 overall and 2-1 in the Mid-State Conference standings despite team-high totals of 15 points and eight rebounds from senior center Dejan Davis. Guard Kyle Alford scored 12 points to join Davis in double-figures.
First-year Warriors coach Matt Wadsworth liked his team’s effort throughout, even in the fourth when the Warriors turned the ball over.
“When you look at what Franklin does, if they trail they’re going to trap,” Wadsworth said. “No turnover is good, but we had two or three that led to easy baskets for them. Our kids even though they were feeling pressure didn’t stop playing hard.”
The Grizzly Cubs, who made only 8 of 18 field goals the opening half, warmed up to finish 20 of 39 (.513). Whiteland accomplished just the opposite, making 11 of 18 from the floor prior to intermission but finishing the game 15 of 35 (.429).
Joining Platfoot near the top of Franklin’s scoring column was backup sophomore guard Dylan Phair with 13 and the 6-5 Thomas with 11. Senior guard Keenan Wood struggled all game long with his shot (1 of 9) but led his team in rebounding with seven.
Whiteland returns to action tonight when it travels to New Palestine. The Grizzly Cubs (10-2, 3-1) don’t play again until next Friday when they host Mid-State Conference foe Martinsville.