Jets battle back for tournament win


TROY – The Franklin Monroe Boys Basketball Team came from 16 points down to defeat Jefferson in the Troy OHSAA DIV Sectional Tournament by the score of 69-63.

Things didn’t start well for the Jets as they found themselves down 14-6 at the end of the first quarter. FM struggled to execute their offense and committed a number of turnovers early that led to some easy scores by the Broncos. Ky Cool and Cavin Baker were the only Jets to score in the frame.

In the second quarter Jefferson heated up from the outside connecting on 3 triples but the Jets helped them along with a number fouls sending the Broncos to the line where they made 11 free throws in the period scoring 22 points and at one time held a 14 point lead.

But Franklin Monroe started to find success by handling the pressure and executing their offense better and had good balanced scoring with 23 points in the period. Aiden Luchini and Gabe Sargent each had 6 points, Cavin Baker and Ky Cool each had 4 and Bryden Diceanu 3.

With the Jets trailing 36-26, Ky Cool was able to get a shot off from three quarters court that rocked the basket and brought the Jet fans to their feet to give them a boost at the break to trail by 7, 36-29.

“We had a predicament at halftime,” Franklin Monroe coach Troy Myers said. “I told the kids do we try to “Out Jefferson, Jefferson” or, do we stick to our game plan and trust it’s going to work.”

Jefferson came out early in the third quarter and took off right where they left off as the Jets were cold and the Broncos took advantage opening up a 16 point lead.

“I told our kids in the third quarter, we were in this same situation last year down 16 in the third quarter in the sectional tournament and we found a way to come back and win,’ Myers said.

“Our kids shouldn’t be in that position if you are looking at numbers, but a lot of things were working against us … but the way we played the last half of the year they deserve a lot of credit and I knew they would fight back,” Myers added.

The Jet’s then started to find a groove both offensively and defensively. They were able to start pounding the ball inside to Aiden Luchini who had 8 points in the third quarter and Cavin Baker added 8 points as well by attacking the basket.

“Baker is a kid that needs challenged, he has a lot of ability, has a mind for the game and loves the game … but he was in foul trouble in the first half and we sat him with us on the bench early in the third quarter trying to buy him time and I told him you have to go when you get back in the game and assert yourself.

And Baker responded along with Luchini.

“There’s not a soul in this gym that looks at #24 in white and says he’s going to kill you but he’s self-aware enough to know and we are too and he just does what he needs to do to help us win. He isn’t a flashy player he’s 6’ trying to play in the post because we ask him too, he would rather be shooting 3’s but he’s carrying a load inside because we ask him to,” praised Myers.

The Jets would take a 52-50 lead heading into the final stanza.

In the 4th period Franklin Monroe would get a small lead and then open the floor to try and slow down Jefferson and control the tempo and that’s where the Jets relied on the strength of their point guard Ky Cool to who would finish with a game high 18 points tied with teammate Cavin Baker.

“Ky is a coach’s dream; he needs direction and has tried to improve. He played multiple minutes last year as a freshman and I think that prepared him for this year and now he’s one of the older guys, yet still a sophomore with experience and to see the progression he’s making is great,” Myers said.

The Jets would make some big plays down the stretch with a triple from Jayce Byers and steal and a lay-up from Bryden Diceanu as the Jets’ would keep Jefferson from coming back and then closing out the game with a great come from behind win 69-63.

Jefferson who was red hot in the first half and early in the 3rd quarter cooled off and part of that was due to Franklin Monroe putting more pressure on the ball and closing out with purpose.

“Fortunately for us they started to miss shots in the second half and it came down to can we get the first rebound when they miss it and I thought fairly consistently in the second half we did that and did enough execution wise to close it out,” Myers said after the game.

The Jets will advance to the 2nd round where they will get to play Tri-County North who they played earlier in the year and lost by 12. That game will be at Troy again at 7:30pm.

Scoring Summary:

Score by Quarters:

JEF … 14 … 22 … 14 … 13 – 63

FM .. 06 … 23 … 23 … 19 – 69

Team Scoring:

Jefferson: Ferguson 18, Sims 12, Jones 18, Pinkston 2, Kiner 13: Totals 8-15-9/14 – 63

Franklin Monroe: Ky Cool 18, Cavin Baker 18, Bryden Diceanu 5, Jace Byers 8, Gabe Sargent 6, Aiden Luchini 14; Totals 6-20-11/17 – 69

Ky Cool drives to the basket for Franklin Monroe in the Jets come-from-behind tournament win over Jefferson. Cool drives to the basket for Franklin Monroe in the Jets come-from-behind tournament win over Jefferson. Dale Barger |

By Dale Barger

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