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Third-quarter blitz carries Grizzly Cubs

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Being outscored 9-3 to close the second quarter essentially wrote Jerry Bomholt’s halftime speech for him:

When you get a team down, don’t let it back in the game.

The Franklin Community boys basketball team received the message in big bold letters Thursday night, with the Grizzly Cubs dominating New Palestine in the second half on their way to a 64-53 victory.

Bomholt’s squad improved to 13-3, having nailed down its fourth consecutive win and seventh in its past eight outings.

In short, Franklin, which starts four seniors, is performing like the veteran outfit it is.

The Grizzly Cubs busted loose from a two-point halftime lead with a 20-point third quarter in which it allowed the visiting Dragons one field goal and a total of four points.

“When you attack zone defenses like the (2-3 zone) New Pal was playing, one of the things we have to do is move the ball. Tonight I thought it was excellent,” Bomholt said.

“I felt the third quarter was the difference in the game. We were very unselfish, and you can see that when you look at our scoring.”

Senior forwards Tyler Thomas with 17 points and Nick King with 15 accounted for half the Cubs’ points. However, a total of eight Franklin players scored, with five tallying between five and seven points.

The lone blemish for Franklin took place at the free-throw stripe. Able to knock down 85 of their past 100 charities coming into Thursday’s game, Bomholt watched his players make only 10 of 15 against New Palestine.

“And I just told them about it,” he said of his postgame chat.

Leading by 15 points through the third period, Franklin managed to pad it as high as 18 at 59-41 midway through the final eight minutes.

The Dragons managed to keep it interesting with seven made 3-pointers in the final quarter. Four were from junior guard Ryan Curry, who led all scorers with 22 points.

Other than Thomas and King, guards Dylan Phair and Bryce Platfoot each had seven points, backup senior guard Alec Bertsch six, and guards Christian Dickmann and Branden Hardesty five apiece.

The 6-foot-3 Platfoot managed a game-best seven rebounds with Phair grabbing four.

Franklin led by as many as nine points in the first half thanks to a 12-3 scoring run to open the second quarter.

Two of King’s 13 first-half points came on a 12-foot jumper from the left side that gave the Grizzly Cubs a 24-15 advantage at the 3:23 mark.

Just when it looked like the Dragons were out of it, they quickly climbed back in on two free throws from Curry and a triple from 6-4 senior Connor Roach.

King drained his third and final 3-pointer of the half at 1:55 to make it 27-20, but New Palestine closed with a 5-0 run on Curry’s putback and a baseline trey by reserve Kevin Riley.

Franklin committed only one first-half turnover and four for the entire game.

Franklin now holds a 7-5 series lead against New Palestine in the 12 games played between the programs since the 1997-98 season — the first year of multiclass basketball.

The Grizzly Cubs next play Saturday afternoon at Class 4A No. 9 Columbus North. The junior varsity contest is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., with the varsity to follow at approximately 2:30.

“If I’m not mistaken, this is the fourth or fifth ranked team we’ve played this season,” Bomholt said. “It’s an opportunity to play a team that if we’re fortunate enough to win sectional might be a team we would play at the regional.”

New Palestine (8-8) also plays Saturday afternoon when it hosts Connersville.

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