WEST ALEXANDRIA – The two teams battled late into the night, through three overtimes, in a marathon game between the Franklin Monroe and the Twin Valley South boys basketball teams.
This was a defensive contest in which both teams made it hard for the other team to score. South used a man-to-man defense while Franklin Monroe used a zone most of the game. There were too many lead changes to count.
The Jets had a chance to get the lead at the end of regulation but were one of two from the foul line with about eight seconds left. The one that fell tied it 44-all and then the clock ran out.
Amazingly in the second overtime neither team could score a point. But in the last overtime South’s offense caught a second wind and scored on the weary Jet defense for a 57-53 win.
The junior varsity game set the tone for the night as it too went into overtime. TVS would win 60-57.
The varsity game was a defensive stalemate in the first quarter as it ended with a score of 11-all.
Despite the Jets being in a zone defense, South was not able to connect on very many outside shots as the Jets closed out well. The Panthers did hit some treys with their perimeter offense – but sparingly.
The Jets went on a nice 10-2 run to start the second quarter and open a lead. This forced South to take a time out and figure out a way to slow down the Jets. South began to use a trapping defense and made up some ground by halftime, but the Jets still led 26-21.
The second half became a sparring match as the two teams exchanged the lead several times. Franklin Monroe was up by a point entering the last quarter, and the two teams dueled as the clock wound down.
The Jets found themselves down by three, 44-41, with about two minutes left. They went to man-to-man defense when South tried to slow down the game and run out the clock.
The Jets made a shot from the field to make it a one-point game with about 40 seconds left. Then with about eight seconds left Ethan Conley went to the line on a shooting foul. He missed his first shot but hit his second shot to tie the ball game and sent the game into overtime.
The first overtime wound down with Franklin Monroe in front 48-45 with about a minute left. But South’s Jacob Bassler, who led all scorers with 28 points, hit a trey to continue the contest.
In the next overtime the two weary teams could not muster up a point between them, and the score remained 48-48 going into the final overtime.
South seemed to catch its breath and offensively the Panthers started to hit their shots. They hit a big 3-pointer and were able to drive to the basket for layups to pad their lead.
The Jets desperately tried to mount a run of their own but made some key ball handling mistakes. It was a disappointing loss for a team that had fought so hard.
“Both teams played really hard,” Franklin Monroe coach Troy Myers said. “And you have to give Twin Valley South credit – their seniors really locked in at crunch time. Bassler hits the 3 and keeps them alive. They are so tough and they grind you down. They put themselves in a position to hit a shot like that. But I thought our guys really fought their tails off. We were really good defensively tonight. We fought well enough to win that game. It’s a shame that either team had to walk away a loss. But unfortunately it was us and so we go home and prepare for our next game.
“At the beginning of the year he was just figuring out how to play varsity basketball,” Myers said about Ethan Conley. “He’s a freshman, and it’s a different scene for him. He is coming into his own and is getting comfortable. He can play away from the rim as well as at the rim. He can step out and create matchup problems for the other team. He’s been really good for us as of late, and I expect to see more from him coming up.”
Franklin Monroe will host Tri-County North on Friday and an always tough Versailles on Saturday.
Scoring for Franklin Monroe: Kyle Ressler 3, Mason Conley 2, Zach Hyre 10, Bradey Hesler 11, Ethan Conley 27.