PITSBURG – When the four-time defending league champs come to play in your building, there is a normal sense of anticipation.
When they come to town and they appear vulnerable, emotions are heightened with the thought of possible victory.
Such was the situation at The Hangar Friday night when the Tri-Village Patriots came to play the host Franklin Monroe Jets. The Jets prevailed 69-54 in a game with great emotion on both sides.
The Patriots opened the game with a lineup that consisted of only one of their usual starting five due to the events of the past week. Senior Jonny Wilson would direct the Tri-Village charges on this night. The 6-foot 1-inch guard would lead all scorers with 28 points and kept his team in the game.
The FM energy level was apparent at the opening tip. Just two minutes into the game the Jets quickly jumped out to a 9-0 advantage and forced a Tri-Village timeout. The Jets continued to ride the wave, extending the margin to 19-6 before the Patriots gathered themselves and cut into the margin by quarter’s end to make the score 23-15 Franklin Monroe.
“Our man-to-man press gave up too much,” Franklin Monroe boys basketball coach Troy Myers said. “Thought we did a good job for the little preparation. We were flying around, making plays and frantic at times. Thought that if we were lackadaisical and let them set the tempo we would be in trouble.”
The second quarter saw Franklin Monroe tighten its defense and extend the lead. The Jets held Tri-Village scoreless for more than four minutes of the period.
The offense continued to roll and reached the summit with a thundering dunk by Ethan Conley with 43 seconds left that brought the score to 37-20 and the crowd roaring. FM players were so into the moment that they received a technical foul for excessive celebration.
By the time the half ended the Jets led 39-22.
The teams continued to go back and forth in the third quarter. The Jets outscored the Patriots 18-12 in the period. Wilson helped to keep Tri-Village afloat scoring 7 of the 12 points. The Jets seemed to be in a position to put this game to bed with the tally at 57-34.
The Patriots had plenty of fight left as they hit FM with a 13-5 run to open the fourth period, reducing the deficit to 62-47 after a triple by Wilson. TV played square-up with the Jets for the rest of the game to finally fall by the 69-54 score.
“That revealed a lot of character,” Patriot coach Josh Sagester said. “We came into a tough environment and competed all the way to the end and made some shots. We struggled rebounding … played well and played hard.”
Sagester got good play from a trio of guards. Wilson; Noah Burns, who netted 13; and Derek Eyer.
“He played really well,” Sagester said of Eyer, his sophomore point guard. “Put him in a tough spot the last couple weeks, and he’s played well.
“In order to become a great team, which we’re not close to yet … we’ve got to become consistent … Preparation is the key. About five minutes left in the JV game asked one of our guys if the team was ready, and he said, ‘Yes, Coach. We’re ready.’ … This team may be the best I’ve coached so far … They want to be better. They wanted to be good, but they don’t just want it. They work to be good.”
Ethan Conley led a quartet of Jets in double figures with 19 points. Mason Conley had 13, Parker Hesler 11 and Kameron Thurmond with 10. Tri-Village had three double-digit scorers led by Wilson’s 28, Burns with 13 and Christian Ricker with 10.