Franklin Monroe boys basketball loses physical tournament game to Jackson Center


By Drew Terhall

PIQUA — In a tough, physical battle, the eighth seed Franklin Monroe Jets lost to 10th seed Jackson Center, 38-31, in the OHSAA Division IV Boys Basketball District Semifinals on March 2 at Piqua High School.

Head coach Troy Myers said he is proud of his kids for fighting through a tough Jackson Center team and giving themselves a chance to win at the end, even when their shots weren’t falling.

“Complete credit to our kids. I wouldn’t want to lose in the tournament with any other kids. I really wouldn’t. These kids have been fantastic. Their commitment to change the standard back in September when we first got together has been extraordinary. The shooting is something a lot of people will talk about. But, at the end of the day that’s not what we’re discussing in the locker room,” Myers said.

After the first quarter ended in a tie, junior EB Fall drained a three to go up 14-11. From that point on, Jackson Center outscored them 10-0 and the Tigers led 21-14 at halftime.

The Jets were coming off a scorching hot shooting night in their playoff win against Fort Loramie. Myers said they got a ton of looks in the first half, but couldn’t finish. It could have been the physicality of the Tigers got to them a little bit. But also, that’s just how the tournament works.

It’s hard for teams to replicate their winning formula in the tournament.

“I think that’s what makes March so exciting. I think that’s what makes the postseason so exciting. Wednesday, it was a ton different. The spirit, the energy that created for us was fantastic from the start. Tonight it was just the completely opposite way. You have to give Jackson Center a lot of credit. The way they defended and how physical they were,” Myers said.

The Jets went on a 9-2 run to tie the game, 23-23, with about 2:30 left. Junior Eric Brenner made two field goals in the third quarter and the team got to the free throw line six times.

But Jackson Center responded with a run of their own. They led 29-23 after the third quarter. Small mistakes here and there by Franklin Monroe gave Jackson Center all they needed to get back the lead or maintain a firm grip on it.

With the slow style of play Jackson Center plays, they drained the clock in the fourth quarter and limited possessions for Franklin Monroe.

The Jets were able to get a few turnovers and some quick buckets to keep them in the game. But when they couldn’t get the turnovers, the Tigers could waste 30 seconds or more on the game clock unless they fouled.

Myers said he respects the slow, chewing clock style of play Jackson Center has played for years. But, he also said being on the losing end of it makes him wish there is a shot clock in high school basketball.

Myers said it has been something he has pushed for in the past. It’s not a Jackson Center problem and he is not faulting them. The Jets have done the same thing at times.

He wants to have a rule or the shot clock implemented to bring more excitement to the fans.

“You need the game to be what the fans are here to see. They want to see basketball. They don’t want to see people stall and hold it. Have we done that in the past? Yes. You play to the rules of the game,” Myers said. “They’re just hard to beat when they get a lead and there’s four minutes to play. There’s not a lot you can do about it, unless you start fouling.”

The Jets did all they could with the limited amount of possessions they got. The defense forced turnovers and they were able to get some looks at the rim. They did everything right, the shots just couldn’t fall in.

Fall and sophomore Lucas Brenner both led the team with nine points. The Jets will graduate two seniors, Dalton Winterrowd and Gage Wackler, who left the game late with an injury.

Myers said kids are four year players who have accepted change and accepted their roles to help the team. Their impact on the program goes beyond what they do on the court.

Myers said they have set the tone each day of working hard and being committed to changing the culture. He credits both guys for creating a unified locker room this season and for leaving the program on the right track.

“What is it that we expect and we want to create change in this program, they did it. Not just from a record stand point, but with the characteristics of the people in our program, how they behave. They bought into the mission right from the jump,” Myers said. “You cannot be a champion unless you behave like one before you become one. They really bought into that from the get go.”

Myers also said with how both of them embraced this challenge and led this season, he has no doubts they will be successful in life.

Franklin Monroe finishes with an 18-6 record and a 9-2 WOAC record.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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