The experience discrepancy between Franklin Community’s boys basketball team and Plainfield at times appeared canyon-like in width Friday night.
By forcing the young Quakers into an unsightly 28 turnovers, the Grizzly Cubs posted a 43-27 victory to end what had been a two-game losing skid.
Downing Plainfield for a third consecutive season allowed Franklin to finish with a 4-2 record in the final Mid-State Conference standings and improve to 14-5 overall.
The Cubs were led by senior Tyler Thomas’ 10 points and watched eight of their players crack the scoring column.
But a thing of beauty it wasn’t.
Franklin made only 7 of its 26 (.269) first-half field-goal attempts, warmed slightly in the second half and wound up 14 of 42 (.333). The Grizzly Cubs themselves turned the basketball over 15 times.
But the two things coach Jerry Bomholt can usually count on, his 1-2-2 defense and his players’ ability to knock down free throws, didn’t let him down.
Plainfield (5-13, 1-5) went 11 of 28 (.393) from the field to go along with a turnover sum that included 10 in the third quarter alone as it continually struggled feeding the interior against Franklin’s collective wingspan.
“We knew going in that hopefully with our pressure we could force turnovers. What we couldn’t do in the first half was get enough conversions,” said Bomholt, referring to the Cubs’ slim 15-12 lead at the break.
“What happens with basketball players is when you’re struggling at the offensive end it affects your defense. In the second half I thought we did an excellent job.”
Whatever confidence the Quakers had mustered vanished within the opening three minutes of the third thanks to a 9-0 Franklin scoring run.
Second-year Plainfield coach Andy Weaver, who starts two seniors, a junior, sophomore and freshman, called timeout at the 5:09 mark after five Quakers’ miscues served to help Franklin’s cause.
It didn’t help.
A hoop inside from Thomas and forward Nick King’s short baseline hoop lifted the Grizzly Cubs to 28-12 dominance with Weaver again signaling time.
Plainfield never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
“We feel we can go out against most teams and get pressure, and if you’re young in the backcourt we can cause you some problems,” Bomholt said. “Plainfield is very young right now, but I think Andy does as good a job as anyone in our conference. I knew they would be very patient and keep us on defense for long periods of time.”
Franklin delivered 13-of-16 marksmanship from the charity stripe, with senior forward Bryce Platfoot making all six of his, sophomore backup Andrew Hartkorn going 4-for-4 and junior guard Chad Williams making both his attempts.
A baseline trey courtesy of junior Branden Hardesty with 2.1 seconds left in the second period provided the Grizzly Cubs their three-point halftime advantage.
This after Plainfield had erased a 12-5 deficit with seven consecutive points on interior buckets from 6-4 freshman forward Nathan Mills and 6-5 sophomore Max Kurkowski and Keegan Motter’s baseline 3-pointer.
Franklin’s horrific field-goal shooting enabled the Quakers to hang close despite turning the ball over eight times in the first quarter and 13 by the half.
Franklin is back on the road next Friday when it wraps up its regular-season schedule at Jennings County. The Quakers host Lebanon tonight.