INDIANAPOLIS — On a night that saw the Franklin Central student section wearing togas, the Flashes acted like Zeus, striking down the Columbus North Bull Dogs and handing them their fourth consecutive loss, 76-68.
Columbus North (1-4) kept the game tight throughout. The first quarter was a fast-paced, back-and-forth duel before Franklin Central (2-1) took an 18-16 lead on a contested 3-point shot as the buzzer sounded. Both teams continued their hot play into the second quarter, with Franklin Central taking a 38-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
As the second half began, North committed multiple turnovers, and an energetic Franklin Central defense took advantage, with the lead growing to 10 less than three minutes into the third quarter. With two minutes to go in the period, a blown layup on a Franklin Central fast break sprung life into the Bulldogs, and they cut the lead down to six within a minute.
As the buzzer sounded at the end of the third, North’s Alex King was fouled attempting a 3-point shot behind half court. King stepped to the line and sunk all three free throws to bring the Bull Dogs to within three.
Much like at the start of the third quarter, Franklin Central’s pressure on defense led to multiple turnovers by the Bull Dogs to begin the fourth. With four minutes left in the game, Franklin Central’s made two out of three foul shots to extend the Flashes’ lead to five.
King, who finished with a game-high 31, was able to hit two free throws and a 3-point shot to cut the lead to four late in the fourth period. However, North was unable to cause any crucial turnovers down the stretch and Franklin Central players took turns calmly stepping forward to sink their free throws.
The Flashes were unflappable from the foul line all night long, making 24 of 26 attempts.
After the game, North head coach Paul Ferguson said he told his kids in the locker room that he was proud of their effort.
“We got beat by a good, athletic and physical basketball team,” he stated, “and we hung around and made a ball game out of it.”
Ferguson also was excited that the coaches saw much improvement in their players this game and added that they are focused to sticking with their theme of building toward the sectionals in February.
The Bull Dogs’ next game is Friday against crosstown rival Columbus East.