In a game where Perry Meridian connected with typical accuracy from 3-point range, Franklin’s boys basketball team needed to piece together a run Tuesday to neutralize the Falcons’ long-range prowess.
The host Grizzly Cubs never could.
Perry Meridian hit 12 of 14 from beyond the arc and 10 of 13 free throws, all in the fourth quarter. Franklin never scored more than five straight points after falling behind early as the Falcons took a 58-49 non-conference victory.
The game featured teams that entered play with a combined 25-8 record in a remarkably even recent series, with Perry Meridian now holding a 12-10 edge in games played since 1993-94.
Tuesday’s match-up was fairly even, as well, except at the 3-point line. The Cubs (13-5) hit just 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, despite hitting 18 of 32 (56.3 percent) overall.
“In the first half, we didn’t do a good job of contesting those shots,” Franklin coach Jerry Bomholt said. “When the game was on the line, we didn’t make conversions, but (Perry Meridian) is a pretty good team.”
Perry Meridian (13-4) scored the game’s first six points and built a 32-23 lead when Devin Parrish converted a lay-up 34 seconds into the second half, but Franklin whittled the lead to 41-40 with 6:42 remaining in the game.
Senior Tyler Thomas hit a weak-side layup to start the fourth quarter, then hit a pair of free throws after the Falcons held a 41-36 lead at the end of the third quarter.
On Perry Meridian’s next possession, however, the Falcons’ Curtis Green Jr., who led his team with 17 points, was fouled on a 3-point attempt in the left corner and hit all three free throws. He hit a short jumper on Perry Meridian’s next trip down the court to build the lead back to 46-40.
Franklin still had a chance late in the game. It trimmed the lead to 52-49 with 1:17 remaining after Bryce Platfoot hit a pair of free throws. Perry Meridian’s Anthony Hardy, however, hit two freebies of his own 15 seconds later.
The Cubs’ Nick King then missed a 3-pointer, the Falcons’ Justin Bowman hit two more free throws with 45.7 seconds left and Franklin didn’t score again.
“We missed three or four bunnies that kept us from digging into the lead,” Bomholt said. “When you have the lead, you’re able to play a little differently. Our zone attack was better, but we needed to get more conversions.”
Franklin’s Platfoot led all scorers with 18 points, while Thomas added 15 and a game-high seven rebounds. In addition to Green’s 17, Hardy added 16 and Dylan Windler chipped in 13 for Perry Meridian.
“Franklin did a good job of getting the ball into the post, and that caused us some problems,” Falcons coach Brent Keck said. “We just got a couple more buckets ourselves. The 3-point shot has been a strength of ours, and our kids did a good job of getting in the right positions to make those plays.”
Tuesday’s game was Franklin’s last home contest this season. The Cubs conclude Mid-State Conference play Friday night at Plainfield.