Whole new ballgame for Grizzly Cubs

Once again, the signature blue- and white-striped warmup pants are part of the Franklin Community High School boys basketball program.

This is relevant only to show that not everything about these Grizzly Cubs is new.

From a first-year head coach to an accelerated style of play to the junior guard who could well emerge as Franklin’s go-to player, these Cubs are a drastic departure from the senior-laden 16-7 team of a year ago.

“We’re going to play fast enough and hard enough that we’re going to have nine or 10 kids who are ready to play,” said Brad Dickey, the former Tipton High School coach who in five seasons led the Blue Devils to a 107-23 (.823) record and three Class 2A semistate appearances.

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“I’m a stickler about guarding your own man, and we’re making progress in that area. And I like to score points, but you have to have good control, or none of this is going to matter. You have to be able to maintain some poise.”

The coach Dickey replaced, Jerry Bomholt, has long been successful implementing a deliberate three-guard offense at one end of the floor and nothing but a 1-2-2 zone defense at the other.

For sake of comparison, Bomholt’s two Franklin squads averaged 52.6 points a game. The fewest amount of points averaged by one of Dickey’s teams at Tipton came last season at 59.7.

Assured to play an integral role in what the Cubs do offensively and defensively is former Indian Creek player Cameron Smith, a 6-foot-2 guard who last winter led the Braves in scoring (16.3) to go along with his 4.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

Smith’s highest point total a year ago was 28 in a 63-44 victory against Eastern Hancock.

Smith, 6-5 senior guard Branden Hardesty, 6-4 senior post Nik Welch and 6-3 junior forward Andrew Hartkorn have logged the most varsity minutes of the players on this season’s Grizzly Cubs’ roster. The other senior Dickey is counting on to contribute is 6-1 guard Evan Giles.

Also expected to factor in are juniors Cameron Rigley (5-10 guard), Bryce Wentzell (5-8 guard), Justin Beasley (6-3 forward) and Jarrett Bertsch (6-2 forward). Sophomore players who could emerge include guards Austin Terrell, Jacob Rockey, Ike McCullough and Jhett Cassell and forwards Hunter Gross, Tyler Craft and Josh Ledbetter.

Smith, who as an Indian Creek freshman averaged 12.8 points, 3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals, should be the one leading these Grizzly Cubs — at least initially until some of his teammates gain more and more varsity experience.

“He is learning to play more consistently, and he scores points,” Dickey said. “He can do a little bit of everything and will be on every scouting report very soon.”

Franklin, which is 2-12 in November games dating back to the beginning of the 2005-2006 season, opens its season Tuesday night at Center Grove. The Cubs’ home opener is Dec. 5 against Mid-State Conference rival Decatur Central.

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2014-15 SCHEDULE


Tuesday;at Center Grove;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 5;Decatur Central;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 6;at Seymour;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 12;at Greenwood;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 13;Hauser;7:30 p.m.

Dec. 20;at Shelbyville;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 2;*Holiday Tourney;10 a.m.

Jan. 3;**Holiday Tourney;10 a.m.

Jan. 10;at Mooresville;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 13-17;***County;TBA

Jan. 23;at Whiteland;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 24;at New Palestine;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 30;Martinsville;7:30 p.m.

Jan. 31;at Southport;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 7;Columbus East;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 12;Columbus North;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 17;Roncalli;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 20;Plainfield;7:30 p.m.

Feb. 24;at Perry Meridian;7:30 p.m.

*at East Noble

**at Carroll

***at Greenwood