North falls on last-second shot

Columbus North dropped a heartbreaker on its boys basketball senior night, but not without a little controversy.

Franklin’s Drew Byerly scored on a putback that officials ruled he got off before the buzzer. Bull Dog players and coaches argued that Byerly didn’t get the shot off in time, but it counted, giving the Grizzly Cubs a 60-58 victory.

The game that featured four lead changes in the final two minutes. North, which had trailed by as many as 10 points, took a 53-51 lead on a pair of free throws by Blake Barker with 1:50 remaining.

Franklin regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Reece Thompson 10 seconds later. The Bull Dogs got a basket from Reese Harmon to go back in front, but Thompson scored on a backdoor layup to give the Grizzly Cubs a 56-55 lead with 47 seconds left.

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Thomson added a one-and-one for a 3-point lead with 15 seconds remaining. Barker then was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws to tie the game with 5.7 seconds left.

The Grizzly Cubs got the ball to Thomson, who missed a 3-pointer. But Byerly grabbed the ball at the elbow and banked it in.

“We turned and watched it, and their guy kept going,” North coach Paul Ferguson said. “So credit to Franklin for making that play.”

The Bull Dogs (15-6) started all five seniors on senior night and jumped out to a 12-5 lead. Franklin (15-7) came back to tie the game at 12-12 after one quarter and built a 30-20 lead with 2:50 left in the first half.

The Grizzly Cubs led 32-26 at halftime and were up 37-28 two minutes into the third quarter before North started battling back.

“We unfortunately put ourselves in that hole by not shooting the ball as well as we’d like to, and a couple of turnovers and missed layups and some of the other things that hurt us,” Ferguson said. “But Franklin also played really well. They’re a tough team, very physical.”

Barker finished with 21 points to lead the Bull Dogs, while Harmon added 14. Patrick McKinley grabbed eight rebounds to lead North to a 27-20 advantage on the boards.