PITSBURG – After losing games to Twin Valley South and Dixie last weekend, Franklin Monroe bounced back on Tuesday with a 60-46 Cross County Conference victory over Tri-County North.
The Jets needed to get back on track with a strong performance, Franklin Monroe boys basketball coach Troy Myers said, and they got just what they needed against North.
“I think we came out on fire,” Myers said. “I thought that our hearts were burning for the right reason. I just think that you see all the stuff that isn’t on the scoreboard … I see all the offensive rebounds, I see all the effort plays, I see all the 10 fingers and 10 toes in the air diving for loose balls, and to me that’s our identity. We lost it this past weekend so it was really important for us to come out and set a good tone.”
The Jets set the tone early on in Tuesday’s contest. Tri-County North led early in the game, but Franklin Monroe went on an 11-2 run to finish the first quarter leading 13-6. Ethan Conley, Bryce Filbrun and Parker Hesler each scored in the opening quarter for FM.
The Franklin Monroe offense got even hotter in the second quarter as the Jets outscored the Panthers 21-10 in the period to lead 34-16 at halftime. Conley, Kyle Ressler, Jordan Rhoades, Filbrun and Zach Cable each scored in the period, and the Jet offense was executing well.
After dominating the first half, Franklin Monroe’s offense went cold in the third quarter. The Jets were limited to just 6 points in the period – all of which Conley scored in a one-minute span midway through the quarter.
Tri-County North started slow in the third quarter, making just one basket in the first four minutes, but finished strong. The Panthers scored the final 11 points of the period to reduce their deficit to 40-30.
“I think our offense was stale for the most part,” Myers said of the third quarter. “It was still 40-30 after three so our defense was locked in. We were keeping their toes out of the paint. Our offense just got stale. We were shooting some 3s and some jumpers that I thought we were settling for, and we just had to get back to going inside and trying to get easy buckets.”
Franklin Monroe quickly got its offense fixed in the fourth quarter and pushed its lead to 18 points with just over three minutes remaining in the contest, ending Tri-County North’s hopes for a comeback.
“I’m glad we got kicking in the fourth, and then you know they had to foul,” Myers said. “I thought we stepped up and did our job at the line, too.”
Conley led Franklin Monroe with 26 points and 15 rebounds on Tuesday. Also for the Jets, Ressler scored 13 points, Cable scored 9, Filbrun scored 8, Hesler scored 2, and Rhoades scored 2.
Dillon McCullough led Tri-County North with 22 points. Also for the Panthers, Brian Stinson scored 10 points, Josh Heindl scored 5, Preston Lairson scored 5, Preston Jackson scored 2, and Dylan Stinson scored 2.
Franklin Monroe improved to 12-7 overall and 7-2 in the CCC with Tuesday’s win.
“Monumental, man,” Myers said of the importance of Tuesday’s win after back-to-back losses. “Just for the mindset of our guys more than anything. You struggle two nights in a row and just really uncharacteristic basketball and you got beat. And that was the bottom line. We got beat, and we had to go back to work. And I credit our guys a lot because that’s been their deal all year. That’s the kind of character they have to come back the next day and get better. We did that yesterday, and I thought we did it again today.”
Franklin Monroe will return to action on Friday at National Trail.
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.