PITSBURG – Franklin Monroe’s smothering defense helped the Lady Jets build a big lead early in Thursday’s game and propelled them to a 51-29 Cross County Conference victory over National Trail.
“Coming off Christmas break, I thought we came out and we played hard,” Franklin Monroe girls basketball coach Abbey Moore said. “Our intensity was there. Defense, we played really well on defense. A little rusty on offense. You know had more turnovers than what we’d been averaging this year. Kind of expected that coming out of break but we’ve got to clean that up a little bit.”
Franklin Monroe limited National Trail to just 8 points in the first half, 5 in the first quarter and 3 in the second quarter. The strong defense also led to some fast-break scoring opportunities for the Jets.
“That first half they had a hard time getting open looks and putting up shots,” Moore said. “We did a great job on the boards. That’s our game, is defense and transitioning to easy points on offense. And transition, I thought we were very unselfish in our transition game, and that translated into easy points on that end.”
It was Corina Conley who had the hot hand early as she scored 6 of the game’s first 7 points and put FM up 6-1. Belle Cable and Kennedy Morris got in the scoring column in the final three minutes of the opening quarter and helped put the Jets up 12-5 at the end of the period.
Audrey Cable got into the scoring column in the second quarter. Belle Cable, Morris and Conley also added to their totals, and Franklin Monroe increased its advantage to 22-8 by halftime.
Franklin Monroe added an outside scoring threat to its repertoire early in the third quarter when Belle Cable drained a pair of 3-pointers. The Jets also remained strong inside and increased their lead to 36-19.
In the fourth quarter Stella Shellabarger, Chloe Brumbaugh and Chloe McGlinch also got in the scoring column for Franklin Monroe as the Jets closed out a 51-29 victory.
Conley led Franklin Monroe with a game-high 18 points on Thursday. Also for the Jets, Belle Cable scored 15 points, Morris scored 8, Audrey Cable scored 4, Brumbaugh scored 2, McGlinch scored 2, and Shellabarger scored 2.
Evan Byrd led National Trail with 11 points in Thursday’s game. Also for the Blazers, Makena Laird scored 7 points, Davlyn Werner scored 5, Savanna Abner scored 2, Caitlin Gilland scored 2, Lexi Benedict scored 1, and JaLynn Byrd scored 1.
Franklin Monroe improved to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the CCC with the win against National Trail. The Jets will travel to Tri-County North on Jan. 4.
“This group of girls that we have here this year, their potential is through the roof,” Moore said. “I think we’re starting to understand that a little bit, but we’ve got to continue to push ourselves. I can’t wait to see where we’re at at the end of the year.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.