PITSBURG – A nearly full parking lot, late-arriving fans looking for a seat and the largest crowd of the year could only mean one thing at the Franklin Monroe Hangar Friday evening. It must be Arcanum night.
This 102nd meeting of the backyard rivals proved to be just as intense as those that had gone before it with the Jets coming away with a 48-36 victory that secondarily also counted in the Cross County Conference standings.
You could sense the eagerness of the crowd and the players to get the game started. The energy was building in the gymnasium, and by the time of the opening tip you could almost feel the electricity of the moment.
Both teams were caught up in the emotion of the game that nearly four minutes into the quarter had produced only a 3-pointer by the Trojans’ Austin Baker for a 3-0 Arcanum lead.
The defenses were controlling the action thus far, but the long-range shooters would have some success before the period ended. Arcanum’s Devin Burns tallied two balls from long distance, and FM’s Bradey Hesler added one of his own. Hesler and Zach Hyre each contributed a field goal for the Jets to bring the deficit to 10-7 Arcanum after one quarter.
“I give our guys a lot of credit,” Arcanum boys basketball coach Marcus Bixler said. “Our last three or four games we’ve been starting to defend a little bit better. Bit by bit. Haven’t put four quarter together yet but seeing some good things defensively. It showed in the first half tonight.”
The second period saw lots of action but little scoring. Both teams pushed the ball up the floor after rebounding missed shots but only four would be made combined in the quarter. Brandon Riffell scored the Arcanum basket and Hyre got the seven points for the Jets. FM led 14-12 at the intermission.
“The first quarter we ran specials to get good looks,” FM coach Troy Myers said. “They covered up the post pretty well, and we knew they were going to do that. It was just about getting the ball rotated and finding the open man, and we started to do that in the second quarter once we finally figured out what was going on and made an adjustment at half time and got the ball moving a little bit. Were able to find some openings around the rim on reversals and so forth. We just broke away with a couple of our specials and started to control the glass really well in the second half. That was the difference in my opinion.”
The coaches were able to stir-up some offense at halftime as both teams were more productive. The Trojans found Wade Meeks and Cole Burrell twice from beyond the arc while Zach Hyre and Ethan Conley combined for eight points for a 22-21 Jet lead with 3:23 left in the third period. Arcanum would not score again in the quarter.
The final two minutes would be game changing. With 1:53 left Arcanum picked up its seventh team foul, causing the Jets to shoot free throws for the remainder of the game. Ethan Conley converted both attempts followed by a Kyle Ressler steal and field goal making the score 26-21. After another Trojans’ foul Ressler made one free throw, but the Jets got the rebound and turned it into a Hesler trey, giving them a 30-21 advantage with eight minutes to play.
“Second half we were able to attack much better,” Arcanum’s Bixler said. “When we can do that we’re a pretty unselfish group that can make the extra pass and find good looks. We were better at that, but unfortunately they didn’t drop, and we got down 5, 7, 9 and we started pressing a little bit and started taking some bad shots.”
The Trojans began the fight back, but the Jets always had an answer for them. With 4:30 remaining Meeks connected on a triple to cut the deficit to 34-29, but Arcanum fouled and the Jets converted. The Trojans would make 12 of 17 free throws in the quarter.
Near the two-minute mark Austin Baker made a three to make the score 41-36 FM, but once again the Jets made a free throw and got a critical offensive rebound by Hyre to continue the possession. That was as close as the Trojans would get.
Hyre led all scorers with 17 points while Hesler and Ethan Conley added 13 and 10. Austin Baker led Arcanum with nine points.
Franklin Monroe raised its record to 6-6 on the year and 3-3 in the CCC. Arcanum dropped to 3-12 overall and 1-5 in CCC play.
The Jets won the junior varsity game 40-33.
Arcanum – 36
Kinney 3, Burns 6, Burrell 6, Au Baker 9, Meeks 6, E Atchley 2, Riffell 2, An Baker 2.
Franklin Monroe – 48
Ressler 7, E Conley 10, Hyre 17, M Conley 1, Hesler 13.
3-pointers: Arc: 8 (Burns 2, Burrell 2, Au Baker 2, Meeks 2); FM: 4 ( Hyre 2, Hesler 2).
Free throws: Arc: 2-3; FM: 16-25.