NEW LEBANON – The Franklin Monroe Jets came into Dixie riding a two-game winning streak.
Before winter break the girls had beaten both Twin Valley South and Tri-County North in back-to-back games to give the team some momentum arriving at the gym.
Both teams had to shake off a little rust from the layoff over winter break, but the Jets got an early advantage. Dixie battled back and had a slim lead 16-14 at the half.
Dixie pressed some and played man to man in the half court. Franklin Monroe fell behind in the second half and made a good effort to try and come back.
It was a three-point ball game with about a minute left in the game. But Dixie made some key free throws while the Jets were 4 of 10 from the foul line down the stretch. This allowed Dixie to extend its lead and go into a slowdown, holding off the Jets for a 34-29 win.
In the first quarter the Jets’ Hannah Ely, who at 6 feet 1 inch easily was the tallest girl on the court, went down with an ankle injury. She had been nursing it over the break but tweaked it again in the first quarter and was done for the night. This meant that the rest of the team had to make up her points and rebounds.
With only eight players dressing for varsity that left an already thin roster with just a two-person bench. Coach Abbey Moore rotated players as best she could to keep the team fresh. But Dixie mixed in the press, and that also wore the team down, and the Hounds did generate some turnovers from a weary Jet team.
The Jets used a man to man and a zone like defense against Dixie. On offense they tended to keep the floor spread out, and they were able to get the ball under the basket and generate some points that way.
Dixie played man to man all night. The Greyhounds mixed in a little three-quarter court trap and sprung the press at times to get some quick turnovers.
Dixie tried to shoot outside, and although the Greyhounds did hit a few, they were not consistent. They then drove to the basket more in the second half, and this seemed to give them better results.
“We have to handle the ball a little better – handle the pressure better,” Coach Moore said. “I told the girls that it is all about having confidence – and I’m a believer in them. I know that they can do it. They just need to have the confidence to know that they can do it.
“It’s all about handling adversity,” she said about the small bench. “It’s a lesson that these girls can take with them for the rest of their life. Overcoming hardships is something you need to learn to do. When you play a game with just seven girls you have to dig down deep and find that extra gear. I am proud of the way they played and the effort that they gave.
“Tara Goubeaux had a good game. She played hard in the paint for us. Kinsey Goins is a player who gave us some hard earned points tonight.”
It was a tough winter break for the team with the loss of two fellow students from their school right before Christmas. So the young players are learning life lessons both on and off the court.
Scoring for Franklin Monroe: Hannah Ely 2, Alyson Masterson 8, Danielle McVey 1, Kennedy Morris 2, Carrie Baker 3, Tara Goubeaux 3, Kinsey Goins lead all scorers with 10.