Columbus North had the ball with a chance to tie or win in the closing seconds Tuesday night, but couldn’t get off a shot.
As a result, visiting Franklin was able to pull out a 55-51 victory to extend its winning streak to three games.
The Grizzly Cubs led 53-49 with 48 seconds remaining before North’s Jaylen Flemmons scored to cut the lead to two with 35 seconds left. Trenton Kelley came up with a steal at the other end, and the Bull Dogs called timeout to set up a play.
North had trouble finding an open player, and after Trey Vincent fell to the ground in the lane, the Bull Dogs called timeout with 3.8 seconds left. Franklin’s Blaine Wentzell intercepted the inbounds pass and hit both ends of a one-and-one with 2.7 seconds remaining to put it away.
Story continues below gallery
“We had a lot of good communication on the court trying to deal with their talented players,” Franklin coach Brad Dickey said. “We made several switches and substitutions, but we didn’t lose our scouting report. We were trying to put the percentages in our favor by guarding their shot or their dribble drive, or both.”
The game featured 10 lead changes and four ties after the Grizzly Cubs (12-6) jumped out to an early 8-2 lead. After that, neither team led by more than four points.
Trailing 14-10 after one quarter, North (11-8) used a 12-2 run to open the second quarter and take a 22-16 lead. The Bull Dogs led 26-25 after three quarters, and after a back-and-forth third period, Franklin led 39-38 entering the final eight minutes.
North grabbed its final lead on a three-point play by Jaylen Flemmons to open the fourth quarter. But after baskets by the Grizzly Cubs’ Drew Byerly and Luke Miles, Franklin never trailed again.
“I thought there were a few key moments in the game where we gave up offensive rebounds,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “We didn’t give up many, but there were two that were big momentum plays for Franklin after we had a pretty good defensive possession and just didn’t finish it.”
Flemmons led the Bull Dogs with 17 points and six rebounds. Trenton Kelley also grabbed six rebounds for North, which held a 20-13 advantage on the boards.
Byerly finished with 18 points and four rebounds, and Reece Thompson added 12 points and four rebounds for the Grizzly Cubs, who shot 50 percent (7 of 14) from 3-point range and were 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.
“We knew they were a pretty good shooting team, and they knocked down some early, which I think gave them some extra confidence,” Ferguson said. “But the guy who really hurt us was Byerly. He was a tough matchup for our guys. He used his size and physicality to work us down low. It was a big 18 points for that kid.”