ARCANUM – How do you sum up the “Battle of Route 49” between Arcanum and Franklin Monroe? Backyard brawl, neighborhood feud or I simply don’t like that color that you wear?
Franklin Monroe boys basketball coach Troy Myers said: “They’re always prepared. We were really prepared … both teams wanted to grind one out … We would need one run to separate things a bit. Unfortunately for us it didn’t come until late, but it came.”
Myers’ Jets came from behind to defeat the Trojans 52-43 Friday night in a Cross County Conference showdown.
Defense was the name of the game in the first half. FM was determined to push the ball inside at the beginning and to some extent were successful. Franklin Monroe’s 6-foot 9-inch senior center Kam Thurmond scored 6 points in the period, but the Arcanum ball pressure was so intense that it made it difficult for the Jets to get the ball into the paint.
The Trojan attack used its motion offense to generate good scoring opportunities, but the Franklin Monroe defense allowed only 15 points in the first period and just 23 for the half. The Trojans did them one better by allowing only 5 second quarter points and held a 23-16 halftime advantage.
“The first 16 minutes we defended the paint well,” Trojan coach Marcus Bixler said. “Was really pleased with it. Guards were digging down in and keeping them away from the front of the rim and making them take bad shots.”
Coach Myers stated: “Our defense was really good throughout the game; 23 points at halftime … Couldn’t score the ball, weren’t getting good shots, weren’t getting our shots, and we were really selfish.”
The third quarter opened with Arcanum extending out to its biggest lead of the night at 9 points, 25-16 and 27-18. The Trojans were riding high as momentum seemed to be squarely on their side when Jets sophomore Ethan Conley powered in a basket at 4:20 remaining in the period and was fouled. He missed the free throw attempt but gathered in the rebound and scored the put-back to suddenly cut the Arcanum lead to just 27-22.
“Ethan’s toughness today versus two weeks ago was completely different,” Coach Myers said. “I hope he’s growing up. He did some things tonight for us in the second half that he wasn’t in the first… and came through big in the third quarter.”
The Trojans were clinging tightly to the lead as the third quarter was expiring, but 3-balls from Ethan Conley and Zach Cable drew Franklin Monroe even at 32. Just for a moment, however, as Arcanum’s Wade Meeks scored a goal and converted the free throw with 0.8 seconds remaining to regain the lead for the Trojans at 35-32 after 24 minutes of play.
The Jets opened the fourth quarter scoring with two Mason Conley free throws to pull within 1 at 35-34. This propelled them on a 15-0 run that would not be broken until just around a minute was left to play in the game. Franklin Monroe took the lead at the 6:05 mark.
As the Jets began to take control they began to slow down their offense and take time off the clock. With each Jet field goal more desperation seemed to set in for the Trojans, and their shots simply would not fall.
“The second half rolls around,” Arcanum’s Coach Bixler said, “and it was an exact flip of the first half. We didn’t defend the paint well and took a lot of bad shots.”
“Our guys became servants in the second half, sharing the basketball,” FM’s Myers said. “We got great looks out of it … Honestly our offense was the difference in the second half.”
The Jets were led in scoring by Ethan Conley with 13 points, Parker Hesler with 12 and Zach Cable with 11. Arcanum high scorers were Brandon Kinney with 11, Andrew Baker with 10 and Carter Gray with 10.
Franklin Monroe improved to 11-4 on the season and 7-1 in the CCC. Arcanum fell to 4-10 overall and 2-7 in the conference.
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