FORT RECOVERY – Fort Recovery, one of the state’s top ranked teams, exposed a lack of leadership in Franklin Monroe on Saturday as the Jets suffered a 73-46 loss.
Fort Recovery entered Saturday’s game ranked 10th in the Associated Press’ Division IV state rankings. FM knew the Indians would provide a big test, coach Troy Myers said, but the Jets didn’t respond well to that challenge.
“Our leadership wasn’t very good,” the Franklin Monroe boys basketball coach said. “Our response to adversity wasn’t very good. It’s something that we’ve trained and tried to work on so hard, and I think progressively as the year’s gone on it’s gotten worse because we haven’t spent as much time on it.”
Early on Franklin Monroe handled Fort Recovery fairly well. Ethan Conley drained a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the first quarter to put the Jets up 6-0, and they led the rest of the period, finishing the frame up 12-9.
Less than a minute into the second quarter with Franklin Monroe holding a 14-11 lead, FM point guard Kyle Ressler was called for his third foul of the game, sending him to the bench for the rest of the half. That proved to be a turning point as Fort Recovery’s aggressive defense really started to give Franklin Monroe fits.
“You’ve got to have guys that are prepared to fill the void and play the position that they’re asked to play,” Myers said. “I thought Parker (Hesler) did well considering the circumstances; he’s not used to that position. But we’d love to be two deep at every position. When Kyle went out it did hurt us. I’m not going to sit here and lie about that, but I think collectively we didn’t do a good enough job helping him. And they continued to give us fits whether Kyle was in the game or not.”
Aided by several turnovers and the resulting fast-break opportunities, Fort Recovery outscored Franklin Monroe 26-11 over the final seven minutes of the second quarter to build a 37-25 halftime lead.
Even with Ressler back on the floor in the second half, Fort Recovery continued to add to its advantage. The Indians led 59-37 at the end of the third quarter on its way to the 73-46 victory.
“They swarmed us early, and I think we knew that they were going to swarm us,” Myers said. “But I don’t think we responded to it actually happening very well. And then I think things kind of escalated because we allowed them to escalate and we stopped throwing punches. I think it was our own doing a lot. Obviously they’re a really good team, and they fly around and get after you. We couldn’t simulate that in practice; we tried, but it’s not something you can simulate and you haven’t seen all year. So they gave us fits, but I think we didn’t respond the way we should have or could have and ultimately shot ourselves in the foot.”
Conley led Franklin Monroe with 15 points in Saturday’s game. Also for the Jets, Kameron Thurmond scored 12 points, Hesler scored 8, Ressler scored 5, Zach Cable scored 4, and Matthew Williams scored 2.
Micaiah Cox led Fort Recovery with a game-high 25 points, Payton Jutte scored 13, Jason Roessner scored 10, Matt Bihn scored 9, Travis Sutter scored 8, Ryan Braun scored 3, Cade Wendel scored 3, and Grant Knapke scored 2.
Fort Recovery improved to 9-1 with Saturday’s win while Franklin Monroe fell to 8-4.
“It’s a wakeup for our coaches,” Myers said. “It’s a wakeup for our whole program in terms of leadership. We’re really huge on that because I think it’s more of an important role than anybody gives credit to, and I think when you don’t respond to adversity in the right way you’re never going to be as good as your potential is. And so we have to go back and make sure we get better at training leadership, real-life leadership not white board leadership. We have to get better at that because I think our team has a lot of potential, but I don’t think we’ve reached it yet. Until we get leadership from within and leadership collectively, I don’t think we’ll reach it. Fortunately our guys in the locker room were really adamant about making sure we get better at that. That will be our focal point from here going forward.”
The Jets are off until Friday when they play host to Bradford in a Cross County Conference game.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.