PITSBURG – In the consolation game of the Jet Holiday Tournament the Arcanum Trojans had the hot-hand in the first half, making 12 3-pointers to take a 42-36 halftime lead.
A spirited effort by Franklin Monroe in the second half led by freshman Ethan Conley with 32 points helped the Jets overcome the outside barrage of the Trojans to win the consolation game by the score 75-69.
“I was smiling. It was the first time in about 24 hours,” Franklin Monroe boys basketball coach Troy Myers said. “It’s been a tough go … I was very disappointed last night in our effort. It was the most disappointed I have ever been in the last four years with our program because I thought the effort didn’t pay respect to the Nestor family and obviously to the fans here watching us in our own holiday tournament.
“We came in this morning, and I made it pretty clear that they knew just that … our assistant coach Lane Lucas did a good job of speaking with the guys because I was at a loss for words. I don’t know what he told them, but he talked about our standards and what Franklin Monroe basketball is all about,” Myers added.
“The guys were ready to go in a different way today. It wasn’t pretty, and it was back and forth all the way, but we found a way to hold the lead in the end, which isn’t something we have been able to do all year,” Myers said.
In the first quarter Arcanum walked off with a 17-14 lead, connecting of five triples, three from Austin Baker and one each from Devin Burns and Cole Burrell (15 points).
FM kept it close with Zach Hyre scoring eight points in the quarter for the Jets.
Arcanum continued its long range assault in the second frame with freshman Wade Meeks draining three of them, Austin Bakers had two, and both Burrell and Brandon Kinney each had one.
The Jets kept attacking and when Kyle Ressler got a steal and a layup at the four-minute mark the Jets had taken the lead, 28-26. Ressler scored all six of his points in the frame … but Arcanum finished with a flurry to take a 42-36 halftime lead.
Arcanum shot a blistering 12 of 22 from the 3-point line in the first half against the Jets’ 2-3 zone.
“We haven’t played a zone all year. In fact we just put it in this morning because we can’t defend,” Myers said.
“I told our guys at halftime we aren’t going to change. It was our game plan. They are going to have to shoot 12 more in the second half to beat us. They almost beat us … but they didn’t make 12 of them. We did a better job of defending and drying up their sweat, and we controlled the glass, turning it into a possession game,” Myers said.
The come-back started almost immediately in the third quarter as Conley scored on back-to-back trips down the floor. Hyre got the lead again for the Jets with a triple at 2:55 to go up 46-44.
Arcanum answered the bell and got the fifth trey of the night from Austin Baker, who ended the game with 23 points, and back-to-back fielders from Meeks (18 points) to go back up 51-46 with 1:10 to go in the third quarter.
It was Conley once again stepping forward with a stick-back and then a bucket and the harm to end the third period, tying the Trojans 51-51.
Just when Arcanum was trying to stop Conley on the inside the young freshman who had a career-type game stepped out and hit a couple of triples in the final stanza on his way to 32 points that earned him a spot on the all-tournament team with a two-game total of 52 points.
“Conley was good tonight. Honestly it wasn’t just because he scored 32 points. You saw the way he was on the glass, the loose balls he was going after, just scrapping,” Myers said.
The Jets got also got help from Parker Hesler and Bradey Hesler (12 points) both with treys to put the Jets up 65-55.
Arcanum got the 15th team 3-pointer on the night (two shy of the 17 made by Versailles back in 2003) from Meeks to close the gap to 70-65.
“We talked about it at halftime, what’s going to happen when the shots stop falling,” Arcanum coach Marcus Bixler said.
“We shot well in the first half. It’s hard to do that for a whole game … I told our guys we have to get stops. We struggled all year long to get the big stops when we need it,” Bixler concluded.
But the fourth quarter belonged to Conley and the Jets as they closed out the game, winning it 75-69.
“I don’t know if the kid (Conley) knows what he doesn’t know. He’s just a freshman. His nature when he came in here was to bang guys. It didn’t matter if it was Hyre or who it was. You can’t teach that to a young guy. He just wants help this program,” Myers said.
Hyre also contributed with a great effort with16 points and 13 rebounds.
“Hyre had a look in his eye tonight from the start, and it carried over to the rest of the guys as well,” Myers said.
“It was a gut check moment for the Franklin Monroe basketball team, one Coach Myers termed “Truth and Sweat” a standard of Jet basketball, exemplified and displayed for the FM fans in attendance … and one worthy of paying respect to the Nestor family.
Score by quarters:
Franklin Monroe…14…22…15…24 – 75
Arcanum………….17…25…09…18 – 69
Kyle Ressler 6, Cade McGlinch 3, Landon Peters 1, Parker Hesler 5, Zach Hyre 16, Austin Brown 2, Ethan Conley 32, Bradey Hesler 12 – Totals 8-19-13/17 – 75
Brandon Kinney 6, Devin Burns 5, Cole Burrell 15, Austin Baker 23, Wade Meeks 18, Brandon Riffell 2 – Totals 15-11-2/4 – 69
Franklin Monroe – 8 (Hyre 4, Conley 2, P. Hessler 1, B. Hessler 1)
Arcanum – 15 (Baker 5, Meeks 4, Burrell 3, Kinney 2, Burns 1)