PITSBURG – Turnovers played a key role as Franklin Monroe beat Ansonia 54-49 in a Cross County Conference girls basketball game on Thursday in Pitsburg.
Franklin Monroe coach Abbey Moore attributed her team’s victory to its intensity and aggressiveness, especially on the defensive end.
“It started on the defensive end,” she said. “We got our hands on some balls. And I told the girls, you know, offense is going to start on the defensive end. And I felt like that was going our way starting that second quarter and we started getting after it on defense.”
Ansonia and Franklin Monroe were evenly matched in the early part of the game, but Ansonia closed out the first quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 15-9 lead through the first eight minutes of the game.
In the second quarter, though, Ansonia went cold as Franklin Monroe’s defense stepped up. The Jets scored the first eight points of the period to go up 17-15.
“Turnovers killed us,” Ansonia coach Jim Bolin said. “It was unforced turnovers.”
Almost four minutes into the second quarter Ansonia finally broke its scoreless streak as Katie Werts and Trinity Henderson both scored baskets off Franklin Monroe turnovers, giving the Tigers the lead at 19-17.
From there Franklin Monroe closed out the half on a 12-3 run, though, and went into the intermission up 29-22. Corina Conley came up big with six of the Jets’ points in that first half-ending run.
“She came in averaging a double-double,” Moore said. “She’s longer than what she is in the book. She plays big and very versatile as well. Several times she drove coast to coast and took that pressure off of Audrey (Cable).”
Ansonia chipped away at Franklin Monroe’s lead early in the second half and tied the game at 33-33 on a Bailey Stammen 3-pointer midway through the third quarter. Stammen had 12 points in the quarter as she did her best to keep Ansonia in the game, but the Tigers found themselves down 43-40 entering the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been wanting Bailey to get going for us,” Bolin said. “It seems like we’ve got two or three girls get going one night and then the next night two or three other girls get going. We haven’t really come together yet as a team.”
In the fourth quarter Ansonia twice cut its deficit to a single point at 43-42 and 46-45. The Tigers couldn’t get over the hump, though, as they fell by five points, 54-49.
“Right now we’re 1-5. We should be 5-1, but that’s all part of the game,” Bolin said. “They don’t have no consistency yet.”
Franklin Monroe had three players with double-digit scoring, all of whom are freshman. Conley led the way with 19 points, Audrey Cable scored 14, and Belle Cable scored 12.
“It’s just who they are,” Moore said of her freshmen. “They’re extremely hard workers, and they get after it every practice. But I’m telling you what, it was every girl that was on my bench tonight that got it done. I had a couple girls that didn’t get in the ballgame, and I told them their role was just as important as the girls that were on the floor. I don’t know if you could hear them on the bench, but that makes a coach’s heart grow. And to hear them and help them out on defense, their role was just as important as the girls who were playing.”
Also for the Jets, Kennedy Morris scored four points, Kinsey Goins scored three, and Chloe Peters scored two.
Stammen led Ansonia with a game-high 20 points. Also for the Tigers, Werts scored nine points, Stefani Garrett scored six, Jailyn Thwaits scored six, Henderson scored five, and Kassy Wentworth scored three.
Franklin Monroe improved to 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in the CCCC with Thursday’s win while Ansonia fell to 1-5 overall and 1-1 in the CCC.
“We’re going to get there,” Bolin said. “It’s just taking a little bit longer than we anticipated.”
With its third win of the season, Franklin Monroe already has surpassed its win total from last season.
“Before the game we talked about what’s our legacy going to be and we had two words: we had conviction and compassion,” Moore said. “And they showed it. They showed it tonight.”