Bull Dogs rally, but can’t quite top Franklin

FRANKLIN — A furious comeback attempt by the Columbus North boys basketball team came up just short Thursday, with the Bull Dogs falling to Franklin 62-55.

North was down 56-41 in the middle of the final quarter. Using tight defense in a full-court press and in the half court, the Bull Dogs found themselves on a 12-2 run, which cut the Franklin lead 58-53 with under two minutes to go in the game.

Mitchell Kelley scored five of his seven points in this stretch, all on breaks off of Bull Dog steals.

Alternating baskets saw the North deficit at five again, at 60-55, but the Bull Dogs were unable to convert again. Franklin made two free throws, and multiple desperation 3-point attempts from North didn’t go in.

“I give Franklin credit. They made some shots. We had some energy at the end, but we weren’t able to pull it out,” North coach Jason Speer said. “We played inspired. Not that we didn’t play inspired the whole game, but we forced some action, and I thought the guys responded.”

Kooper Glick scored 26 for the Bull Dogs (14-7), but without a teammate in double figures, North was unable to keep up with the lights out shooting of the Grizzly Cubs.

Nine Franklin three-pointers constantly expanded the Grizzly Cub lead throughout the game. After North led 16-12 after the first quarter, Franklin used a 21-10 second to take control of the game. Franklin’s Jarrett Bertsch hit three of his five 3-pointers in the frame, which saw the Cubs squash any momentum the Bull Dogs had built during the first.

“We had a hand in their face, but they made some tough shots,” Speer said. “They made shots, and, with the looks we got, we just didn’t hit a high enough percentage.”

Sophomore Nathan VanDeventer and freshman Trey Vincent, both seeing much more playing time than anyone could have anticipated, were both very involved for the Bull Dogs. Each scored six — VanDeventer knocked down a couple 3’s, and Vincent was a presence on both ends.

“All of our young guys are doing a tremendous job,” Speer said. “Kooper and Vinny (Grana) are doing a tremendous job being leaders on the court, and the younger guys are following their lead. It’s impressive to see them do that.”

The Bull Dogs have an eight day layoff before their next game, against Bloomington North. With the extra practice time, the Dogs may be able to start working towards a postseason run.

“We’re OK,” Speer said. “We’ve got a lot more practice time before the tournament to figure out who we are. Once we get that figured out, hopefully, we can finish up strong and make some noise in the tournament.”