With huge momentum swings, Friday night’s performance looked familiar to Franklin boys basketball coach Jerry Bomholt.
He’s seen it before in practice.
The Grizzly Cubs lost a 17-point fourth-quarter lead but forced a couple of key turnovers and hit critical free throws to hold off Edinburgh 52-50 in a semifinal of the Johnson County Tournament.
With the win, the second-seeded Cubs (8-2) advance to tonight’s championship game against top-seed Center Grove (6-5) at Edinburgh.
“We did a lot of things right to get the big lead, and then we turned around and did a lot of things wrong to give it back,” Bomholt said. “We were a half a step slow defensively.”
But it was hard for him to be too negative because after dropping its first two games of the season, Franklin is on an eight-game winning streak heading into tonight’s 7:30 p.m. showdown against the Trojans, who advanced with a 51-47 win against Whiteland in the second semifinal Friday.
Center Grove beat Franklin 62-53 in the season-opener Nov. 21. The Cubs look forward to the rematch.
“For them, it’s just important that they get that opportunity,” Bomholt said.
But the veteran coach is still looking for consistency out of the Cubs.
Franklin used 10-0 and 12-0 runs in the second and third quarters to put some distance on the Lancers. The second run gave the Cubs a 44-27 lead going into the fourth quarter.
But that’s when the game got interesting.
The Lancers made 7 of 10 shots, including four 3-pointers, during a 21-1 run and took a 48-45 lead with 1:39 remaining.
“We’ll have stretches in practice where we look like world beaters,” Bomholt said. “And then in the next six minutes, we might be the worst team I’ve ever been around.”
But senior Keenan Wood stepped up with a bucket, and the Cubs turned up their defense, pressuring Edinburgh in the backcourt and forcing a couple of turnovers.
Franklin junior Bryce Platfoot stole the ball and scored on a layup, and Wood hit a couple of free throws after the second turnover to help seal the win.
“I didn’t know (Edinburgh’s run) was going to happen,” Wood said. “Their crowd got into it, which anything is possible in a tournament, especially on your home court. I knew that we needed defense, which got us the lead in the first place.”
Edinburgh senior Riley Price’s 3-pointer with 5:21 left in the first half gave the Lancers an 18-17 lead.
That’s when Franklin rattled off a 10-0 run to take a 27-18 halftime lead, which it stretched to 44-27 going into what became a thrilling fourth quarter.
Wood led Franklin with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
“The first half, I tried to get going more offensively and tried to see if maybe we could get to a lead earlier to take the crowd out of it,” Wood said. “And it takes away any momentum they had from their game Tuesday night.”
The Lancers had trouble against Franklin’s zone and its size. So they attempted only 12 2-point field goals but made 11 of 32 3-pointers.
“I knew the game was going to have spurts in it,” Edinburgh coach Drew Glentzer said. “We were going to live on the arc a little bit.”
Seniors Caleb Giles and Riley Price led Edinburgh with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
For Franklin, freshman Kyle Pendleton came off the bench, drilled four 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 12 points. His third-quarter trio of 3-pointers spurred Franklin’s second big run.
Edinburgh (7-2) had its six-game winning streak halted. The Lancers play Whiteland (5-6) in tonight’s 6 p.m. consolation game.