CLAYTON – For three quarters the 11th seeded Jets of Troy Myers seemed out of gas and looking for fuel at the local Meijer.
However, they refueled quickly in the fourth quarter by scorching the nets for 27 points and defeating the 12th seeded Greyhounds from New Lebanon 61-57 at Northmont’s new gymnasium. The win propels Franklin Monroe into the sectional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday against the No. 7 seed Anna Rockets, who disposed of Northwestern’s Warriors 51-50 in another close game.
“We have been losing a lot of one- or two-point games and one in double overtime to this same Dixie squad recently,” Coach Myers said. “This one finally went our way based on the strength of our free throw shooting, which was 15 of 21 for the day and nailed 11 free throws in the pivotal fourth quarter.”
The Jets are playing at the Division III level based on the fact that they were over by one boy from their usual Division IV level when school enrollments were counted.
The Jets, however, came out in the first quarter not caring what division they were in and put up a solid 17 points by christening the new Thunderbolt nets. They were led by senior Zach Hyre with seven points and freshman Ethan Conley with five points to highlight the scoring punch.
Not to be outdone, the Dixie Greyhounds had three 3-pointers in the quarter highlighted by Blake Miller and Cody Grubb, who was harder to stop than a run-away semi on Grubbs-Rex Road.
The Greyhounds were howling for joy in the second canto by scoring 15 points led by Miller, who had another seven along with the double Gs of Grubb and Dakota Grise with four apiece.
The Jets tried to keep pace but could only muster five points with two by Mason Conley and three by Ethan Conley. The Jets hustled the entire time but were still facing a dozen point deficit and were ready for some halftime oratories by coaches Myers, Zane Shellabarger, and Lane Lucas.
The Jets were now trying to slice the 12 point difference by creating more fast-break opportunities off the defensive boards. This worked for the first part of the quarter until the Hounds cut off the outlet pass.
The quarter see sawed back and forth like a teeter-totter with FM cutting the deficit to 11 at 45-34. Leading the Jets in the quarter was Hyre with four points, Ethan Conley with three and senior Bradey Hesler with three. The Hound retaliated with four points from Devin Worley and three from Austin Simpson.
“Your season is on the line, and it is going to end in eight minutes unless you guys do something about it,” Coach Myers said. “I do not want to send these four seniors home tonight.”
Such prophetic words were never more truly spoken as the Jets went on a 12-0 run to go up 46-45 highlighted by sophomore Kyle Ressler’s 3-pointer to give them their first lead of the second half.
Grubb countered with his patented and much needed 3-pointer for the Hounds to put them up 48-46.
The Jets then took off and went on another scoring splurge and proceeded to out-score the Hounds 8-1 to post a 54-49 advantage, which the Hounds could not recover from. The Hounds did get it to within one point, 57-56, on the strength of a basket by Worley, who finished with eight for the quarter.
However, Franklin Monroe was not to be denied as Ethan Conley and all other starters hit crucial free throws to send the Hounds back to the dog pound.
Dixie finished up 10 -13 and was led by Miller with 17, Grubb 16 and Worley 12 for double-figure scoring. Grise had four points, Simpson three, Ethan Arnett three and Dustin Petry two for the total of 57. The Hounds shot 80 percent from the free throw line but were only there 10 times.
The Franklin Monroe Jets now advance in the tournament with a 10-13 record. The Jets were led by Hyre with 18 points, Ethan Conley with 17 points and brother Mason Conley with 15 points. Following up next was Ressler with six points, and finishing out the scoring was Hesler with five points.
Franklin Monroe scored more points in the fourth quarter than it did the entire first half, 27-22.