PITSBURG – Covington’s defensive pressure was too much for the Franklin Monroe girls basketball team to handle in a 60-34 Cross County Conference loss on Thursday.
Franklin Monroe played with Covington in the second half, but the Lady Jets couldn’t overcome a 21-point halftime deficit.
“I’ve got to hand it to Covington,” Franklin Monroe coach Abbey Moore said. “They’re a great ball team. They’re quick. Defensively they’re quick. Offensively they’re quick. They kind of put it all together, and they play hard. But, you know what, I felt like my girls played with them tonight, and I was very proud of the effort my girls put in. We’ve just got to get to that next level now.”
Franklin Monroe’s only lead of the game came in the opening minutes as Allyson Masterson scored the game’s first basket to put the Jets up 2-0.
But then Covington’s defense got the Franklin Monroe offense out of sync and led to some fast-break points for the Buccs, who went on a 9-0 run to go up 9-2.
“I thought we had great effort tonight,” Moore said. “We still have to clean it up on the offensive end. We’ve got to be able to handle the ball a little bit better so we can get into our offense and get some shots on the offensive end. That’s, you know, I think probably our weakness right now.”
Tara Goubeaux broke FM’s scoring drought and Alison Armstrong also scored a basket, but Franklin Monroe found itself down 17-6 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter Franklin Monroe found some success going inside with baskets by Carrie Baker and Hannah Eley, but Covington’s defensive pressure continued to cause problems.
“I feel like maybe we should have taken advantage of that a little bit more inside, but we’ve got to handle the ball first,” Moore said.
Danielle McVey also scored late in the second quarter for Franklin Monroe, who went into halftime trailing 35-14.
The second half was much better for Franklin Monroe, beginning with the third quarter in which Covington only outscored FM by one point. Kinsey Goins, Masterson, Baker and Eley all scored for the Jets in the third period, which ended with a 46-24 Covington advantage.
Franklin Monroe again played with Covington in the fourth quarter. Masterson, Eley and Armstrong each scored in the period as the game ended with a 60-34 Covington win.
Moore was encouraged by her team’s improvement in the second half.
“That’s kind of been the tale of the season so far for us,” she said. “Our second half has been our half to play basketball. I told the girls, I said you’ve got to come out and you’ve got to put four quarters together. You can’t play two. You’ve got to come out and play all four. And we’ll get there. I feel like we’re making steps and we’re improving and getting to that four-quarter mark. Hopefully we’ll just continue down that road.”
Armstrong and Eley led Franklin Monroe with eight points each on Thursday. Also for the Lady Jets, Masterson scored seven points, Baker scored five, and Goins, Goubeaux and McVey each scored two.
Jessie Crowell, who scored her 1,000th career point in the third quarter, led Covington with a game-high 17 points. Also for the Buccs, Brooke Gostomsky scored 11 points, Samantha Whiteman scored 11, Carly Shell scored six, Jordan Crowell scored five, Rayna Horner scored four, Tori Lyle scored four, and Lexie Long scored two.
Franklin Monroe fell to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the CCC with Thursday’s loss while Covington improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the CCC.
The Jets will look to continue their improvement when they return to action at 6 p.m. Monday with a home game against Troy Christian.
“I think it’s just more of a confidence thing with my girls,” Moore said. “They have the ability to do it, but it’s just getting over that shock factor and having confidence to take the ball against pressure like that.”