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Cubs roaring: Franklin’s winning streak now at 11

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Eleven-game winning streaks are made up of numerous factors. Franklin’s boys basketball has found a way to incorporate just about all of them.

The element most responsible for extending Franklin’s consecutive win total Friday night was a suffocating half-court defense that forced visiting Martinsville into 21 turnovers in a 51-46 Mid-State Conference victory.

Coach Jerry Bomholt’s Grizzly Cubs won’t soon be mistaken for pretty when getting the job done. Effective is an altogether different matter.

“I’ll tell you what it is, it’s having guys like we have that during this stretch have found a way,” said Bomholt, whose squad, now 11-2 overall and 4-1 in the Mid-State standings, can tie the school’s 1996-97 semistate qualifier’s 12-game winning streak with a victory tonight at Southport.

“We just play game by game. We win this one and go on to the next one.”

Due to the closeness of a hard-fought battle against the Artesians — there were 10 lead changes and 29 occasions when the score was either tied or the lead was two or fewer points — Bomholt wasn’t able to substitute as freely as he would have liked. He’s hinted he’ll make up for it at Southport Fieldhouse with perhaps as much as four-fifths of Friday’s starting lineup seated near him when the game begins.

No word whether that means 5-foot-11 guard Keenan Wood, whose game-high 18 points and plays down the stretch were huge in Franklin snapping its two-game losing streak to Martinsville.

With the score tied at 46-46, junior guard Christian Dickmann put the Cubs on top for good with two one-and-bonus free throws with 1:25 remaining. Artesians junior guard Troy Spears missed in close at the other end and Wood’s charity toss at :36.2 made it a three-point spread.

With Martinsville working the ball around for a clean look at a potential game-tying trey, Wood made a steal near mid-court, then broke free for the clinching layup with 17.6 seconds to go.

“Martinsville is tough year in and year out. They play hard and they always have two or three really good shooters,” said Wood, who finished 3 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc. “By trapping on defense that was really the way we stayed in the game. I feel at this point we’ve faced about every type of offense, so against our (1-2-2) zone teams are now moving the ball around faster.”

Franklin labored from the floor, hitting only 16 of 39 (.410) field goal tries, while the Artesians (8-6, 2-2) fared better in that department at 16 of 30 (.533). The Cubs’ ability to knock down free throws (16 of 22) also proved crucial as Martinsville shot 7 of 9.

Joining Wood in double-figures for Franklin was 6-5 junior forward Tyler Thomas with 15 to go along with a team-best four boards. Bryce Platfoot and Dickmann added eight and seven points, respectively.

Senior swingman Greg Spina paced the Artesians with 17 points. Martinsville is off until next Friday when it hosts Mooresville.

The Grizzly Cubs made only 6 of 16 field goal attempts in the first half, but still held a slim 18-17 lead on the strength of their defense forcing 11 Martinsville turnovers.

Franklin outscored the Artesians, 12-6, in the second quarter with Thomas accounting for eight of the Cubs’ points. Down by five points after one period as well as midway through the second quarter, Bomholt’s team closed the half with an 8-2 scoring run.

Dickmann got things rolling with a pull-up mid-range jumper. Dickmann on the Grizzly Cubs’ next possession fed Thomas inside for a layup to make it a 15-14 game at the 3:55 mark. Wood later dished an assist to Thomas for a chippy inside and the hosts’ first lead since 2-0.

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