WEST ALEXANDRIA – The second place Franklin Monroe Jets had to begin their weekend with an away Cross County Conference game at Twin Valley South – a team that’s always dangerous under the coaching of Tony Augspurger.
The junior varsity game was presage of what was to come in the varsity game, a close contest with many lead changes and the outcome decided in overtime by a narrow margin. Fans definitely got their money’s worth in this closely fought CCC contest.
Both teams played man-to-man defense with the Jets occasionally springing into a half-court trap to try and generate a turnover.
They had contrasting styles of offense. South got the bulk of its points in the paint. Forward Willie Bowman would lead all scorers with 30 points. He did show some range later in the game when he sank some outside shots. The Jets could not seem to stop Bowman despite trying several different defenders upon him.
Franklin Monroe’s offense, on the other hand, was more multi-dimensional and could hit outside, the jump shot and drive to the basket. Another difference was that the Jets had three players in double figures – Zach Cable (15), Bryce Filbrun (12), and Kyle Ressler (14). So the Jets had several scorers that the Panthers had to cover.
“I love the way that all three of these guys play,” Franklin Monroe boys basketball coach Troy Myers said. “Bryce helped with an adjustment that he suggested – we tried it, and it worked. It helped us score. He made some big shots for us. We had spread scoring and spread production – it makes it difficult for teams to defend us.”
At the tail end of the second quarter the Jets went on a little run and had a 5-point lead, but after a timeout at the two-minute mark South went a run to capture a 1-point lead right before halftime.
The Jets were up at the end of the third quarter, and the fourth quarter became a frantic race to the finish. At the end of the game South had the upper hand due to a pair of free throws from Nate Osborn. The Jets needed an answer and with about 12 seconds left Filbrun stepped up and hammered home a 3-pointer to knot up the game at 51-all.
In the overtime, the lead was back and forth as the two teams tussled for the win. This time it was Franklin Monroe that took a late lead with a pair of free throws from Ressler with 28 seconds left. But South’s Ryan Bassler scored a trey with six seconds left for a 61-60 lead.
With six seconds left the Jets got the ball down the court and put it in the hands of one of their scorers, Filbrun, but as he released his shot South’s Bowman was able to bat down the ball as the buzzer sounded, preserving the win for the underdog Panthers as they defeated the second place Jets.
“They punked us,” Coach Myers said. “From start to finish, they were the tougher team. We were very undisciplined in the first half on our side. We did not rebound well and gave them second chances. We were not in attack mode. But they were and they got the job done. We have the target on our back, and South is always tough. Tony Augspurger’s teams are always tough. Physically, mentally, they were spot on the entire night and made us play catch up. Sixty points for us is about average, giving up 61 is way too many for this team.”
The Jets continue their road trip with a trip to Dixie, who is coming off of a win and has some momentum. Then next week the Jets go against two tough CCC teams, Tri-County North and National Trail, in a rugged stretch of games.
“Dixie is a lot like South so what we saw tonight, we are going to see next against Dixie,” Myers said. “They will also be a physical team. They are going to come at you hard and be scrappy. The game plan will be similar – we just have to execute better.”
Franklin Monroe: Ressler 8, Filbrun 12, Rhoades 2, Cable 15, Hesler 14, Conley 9.
TVS: R. Bassler 8, Cottingim 3, Osborn 2, Wells 8, Bowman 30, Lovely 10