ANSONIA – The Franklin Monroe Jets, powered by the outstanding scoring and relentless rebounding of Ethan Conley, outlasted the Ansonia Tigers 63-50 in Cross County Conference action Tuesday evening.
Ethan Conley, a second-year starter as a sophomore, led all scorers with 29 points and unofficially had 14 rebounds. He netted eight of the Jets’ final 10 points of the first quarter and opened the second by connecting on consecutive 3-pointers to open up a 21-12 margin for the visitors. Ethan Conley’s explosion coincided with an FM switch to zone defense that temporarily stymied the Tiger attack.
“Lots of action up and down …” Ansonia boys basketball coach Chad Cramer said. “Not a great defensive game or you can call it good offense. Ethan Conley is a terrific player, and he had a whale of a game. He was tough for us to deal with. Give their other guys credit for getting him the ball in a position where he could score … They’re a good team.”
Troy Myers, coach of the Jets, on his team’s defensive effort, said, “We didn’t guard the way we wanted to guard early. Had to bail us out and go to zone.
“If (Ethan Conley) didn’t play we probably lose by 15. Not just because of his points but his aggressiveness on the glass … He saved us.”
Ansonia found its offensive mojo again and was able to cut the deficit to three on an Aydan Sanders lay-in off of a steal at 25-22. Four Jet players would score baskets before the half including treys by Mason Conley and Parker Hessler to give FM a 35-25 lead at the intermission.
Franklin Monroe came out in the third quarter looking to put the game away, and it looked like the Jets had. The Jets hit Ansonia with an opening 9-0 run to expand the lead to 44-25 with under 4:30 left in the period.
The Tigers proved they could take a punch well by responding with a 14-4 run of their own, keyed by two triples by Trevor Alexander, to close out the quarter and get the margin under 10 and trail just 48-39 moving to the fourth.
Alexander, who led Ansonia with 14 points, finally had his night, Coach Cramer said.
“He hasn’t been scoring a lot, but he’s been setting up others to score,” Cramer said. “He’s had a terrific year … He’s been passing out to others, and tonight was his night.”
The action in the fourth was up and down the floor. The Tigers looking to cut into the lead, which they managed to get as close as 53-48 with nearly 4:30 left. The Jets converted 6-of-9 free throws in the quarter, enough to keep Ansonia at bay. The Jets only allowed Ansonia two more points the rest of the game while stretching their lead to the final 63-50 score.
Franklin Monroe is now 4-1 on the year and 2-1 in league play. Ansonia fell to 4-2 and is 2-2 in the CCC.