WEST ALEXANDRIA – The Franklin Monroe Jets girls basketball team starts three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior.
A starting five that in age would appear better suited to a junior varsity roster. But the young team played well beyond its years as Franklin Monroe put on a show with an intense defense that smothered Twin Valley South and an offense that moved the ball well and shot lights out from the field to thrash an older and more experienced Twin Valley South team 57-16.
After losing to a Houston team earlier in the week by 4 points when the Jets allowed the game to slip away in the last quarter, Coach Abbey Moore had to wonder how the team would react. The South game could have been a trap game in which the young team was looking past the South game to a big game Saturday against Cross County Conference rival Arcanum. But the Jets were focused from the opening whistle.
Using a stingy man-to-man defense in the half court and an aggressive press, Franklin Monroe shot out to a 23-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. And when the Jets had to run a half-court offense, they shot well from both the outside and in the paint. It was 39-8 at halftime.
The Jets continued to rebound well in the second half. They got a lot of second-chance shots on offense and limited South to just one shot on defense. And their defense never lost intensity.
A lot of the bench got on the court in the second half. But South would not score in the third quarter and scored just 8 in the final quarter. So that was an outstanding defensive performance.
Twin Valley South did try to press a little to get some quick turnovers, but the Jets broke it easily for some quick scores, and South had to go back to its half court zone.
“We lost a close one again Houston, and my whole focus these last few days is how are we going to respond to that,” Moore said. “And today that question was answered; they responded well. Corina Conley finished well around the rim for us. That was despite the pressure that she received. And something I saw with Chloe Peters as well as the rest of team – we would miss a shot but stay after it, get the rebound and go right back up with the next shot.
“I told them at the beginning of the year – to me you are all the same grade,” Moore said of her team’s youth. “I don’t look at what grade level you are in; I look at how you play the game of basketball. That approach has worked out well for us. But really the whole team played well. I was really happy with the defense. I thought that was as soft spot for us on Monday. But we worked on it and it paid off tonight.
“We are looking forward to our game on Saturday against Arcanum. It is a big game for us. That game is circled, and we have been preparing for it. We have to play physical at practice tomorrow because that is the kind of game it is going to be. I know the girls are up for it – they are excited to be playing against Arcanum.”
Conley led Franklin Monroe with 20 points on Thursday. Also for the Jets, Peters scored 10 points, Belle Cable 9, Kinsey Goins 8, Audrey Cable 6, Tara Goubeaux 2 and Kennedy Morris 2.