Seven days after Franklin and Whiteland met in the Johnson County Tournament boys’ basketball semifinal, the host Grizzly Cubs built on their dominance of the Warriors in Friday’s Mid-State Conference matchup.
The Cubs’ 1-2-2 zone defense harassed Whiteland into committing 15 turnovers and held the Warriors to 29.3 percent shooting in a 55-30 Franklin victory.
Friday’s win followed a 57-40 victory against the Warriors on Jan. 17 in the county tournament. The Cubs went on to defeat Center Grove the next night for the championship.
The win kept Franklin (9-2 overall, 3-1 Mid-State) in the thick of the conference race.
The Cubs entered play one game behind 3-0 Mooresville and a half-game behind 2-0 Martinsville in the Mid-State picture.
Whiteland, meanwhile, fell to 6-8 overall and dropped to 1-2 in league play.
Franklin started cold offensively, hitting just 2 of its first 10 shots, but the Cubs’ shooting percentage warmed up as they consistently got the ball inside.
Franklin wound up shooting 45.2 percent (19 of 42), including 17 of 32 (53.1 percent) after the slow start. The Cubs methodically pulled away from Whiteland, but an 11-0 run that spanned the second and third quarters ended any drama.
Franklin led 18-12 with 3:01 remaining in the first half but built that lead to 29-12 after Bryce Platfoot’s layup with 6:27 left in the third quarter.
The Cubs produced four double-figure scorers, led by backcourt mates Platfoot and Christian Dickmann, who scored 13 points apiece. Nick King added 11 points and led Franklin with six rebounds, while Tyler Thomas contributed 10 for the Cubs. Platfoot, Dickmann and Thomas each shot better than 50 percent from the floor, while Thomas hit 4 of his 5 field-goal tries.
Franklin also connected from the free-throw line, hitting 16 of 17, and committed just seven turnovers.
Whiteland’s youthful backcourt duo of sophomore Terr’e Moss and freshman Michael Valle led the Warriors with six points each. Jacob Stidham added five points and a game-high seven rebounds.
The Cubs held Whiteland’s leading scorer, John Hubler, to just four points on 2-of-8 shooting. Franklin consistently double-teamed Hubler whenever he caught the ball on the wing, denying the 6-foot-4 senior many good looks.
Franklin returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Seymour. Whiteland plays again next Friday when it hosts Mid-State Conference leader Mooresville (10-1 overall), ranked fourth in Class 4A.