PITSBURG – Franklin Monroe dug a deep hole in its matchup with Newton and trailed 29-16 at the half. The Jets climbed out of the hole late in the fourth quarter, setting up an exciting finish, but the fairy tale ending went to the Indians, who made one more play to upset the Jets 44-43.
It was senior night for the Lady Jets who honored three seniors – Allie Armstrong, Sarah Miller and Tara Goubeaux – before the game started.
Franklin Monroe got off to a good start with a couple of free throws and a triple from Kennedy Morris, but Tatum McBride matched it and more, scoring 10 of the first 12 points for Newton to put the visitors ahead 12-7 at 1:52.
With the Indians up 17-8, Belle Cable gave the home team a boost with a big trey to close the first quarter down 17-11.
Newton played a zone most of the night, showing a couple different looks, sometimes flattening out the zone and other times trapping the wings to make it tough all night for the Jets to get good shots, especially in the second quarter.
Franklin Monroe scored just 5 points. Meanwhile, Newton showed balance with five different players contributing and took a 29-16 halftime lead.
The Jets ramped it up on defense after the break, paying special attention to Newton standout McBride with Morris doing a good job holding her to zero points in the third quarter.
The Jets forced numerous turnovers but still struggled putting points on the board and trailed by 11, 36-25.
The fourth quarter turned into a wild one as the Jets started to slowly climb out of the hole and by the six-minute mark trailed 35-31 after a triple from Chloe Brumbaugh.
Audrey Cable’s pull-up jumper at 3:47 closed the gap to 36-35, bringing the home crowd into the game.
Forty seconds later Brumbaugh hit her second triple on the night, giving the Jets a 38-36 lead, and the home crowd was standing, stomping and fist pumping along with the bench as FM finally had its head above ground.
Newton didn’t fold and scored the next two buckets to regain the lead to go back up 40-38.
Belle Cable sent up a missile in front of the bench to keep the game going back and forth with Jets now up 41-40 with 1:26 to go.
In big moments star players make plays, and this time it was McBride for Newton with a strong drive to the basket to go back up 42-41.
Audrey Cable’s jumper just inside of the 3-point line gave the lead back to the Jets with 22 seconds left to play.
With everyone focused on McBride, the senior play maker found a wide open Anna Wolfe whose bucket with 12 seconds proved to be the game winner.
The Jets had one last chance with a shot off the baseline that came up short as the horn sounded and on the scoreboard, 44-43.
Newton was led by McBride with 17 points, Wolfe had 11 and Mallory Dunlevy 10 as the Indians improved to 15-6 overall and finished 8-4 in the conference, good enough for a fourth place tie with Arcanum.
Franklin Monroe got 11 points from Belle Cable, 10 from Audrey Cable and 9 from Corina Conley leaving the Jets one game short of 20 wins in the regular season. The Jets are now 19-3 overall and finished 9-3 in the Cross County Conference tied with Covington in third place.
There was no magic win on senior night, but Franklin Monroe girls’ basketball coach Abbey Moore was very appreciative of her three seniors.
“I want to thank Allie, Sarah and Tara … Allie as our team manager and Sarah our videographer; they have helped out behind the scenes, and I appreciate everything they have done for our program,” Moore said.
“I can’t say enough good things about Tara … I feel bad about not being able to get her on the floor at the end of the game. She has been with us all four years and has displayed dedication all four years and worked hard for our program. Hopefully we get a nice tournament run so she can continue to enjoy her senior season,” Moore said.
“I wish we could have got a win tonight for our seniors. We got down early in the game, and it took quite a bit of energy for to get back in it. I thought when we grabbed the lead late in the game we were going to get it done, but to Newton’s credit they made some big plays and came out on top,” Moore said.
“They are a good basketball team, a dangerous team capable of making a good tournament run. Thankfully we won’t see them until much later in the tournament if we all go that far,” Moore said.
“We got a lot more movement going offensively in the second half, giving us more open looks, and we knocked down shots compared to the first half where we shot like 20 percent to get us back in the game. We showed fight in the second half, and that’s what I told the girls in the locker room. Going into the tournament we have to play with that kind of fight all four quarters. We can’t wait until the second half or we will be going home early,” Moore added.
“It hurts to lose a game like this … but I believe it was a wake-up and will prove to be motivation for us in the tournament,” Moore concluded.
Franklin Monroe now shifts its attention to the postseason and plays Springfield Catholic in the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV Brookville sectional tournament on Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. tip-off.
Score by quarters:
NE … 17 … 12 … 06 … 09 – 44
FM … 11 … 05 … 08 … 19 – 43
Newton – Tatum McBride 17, Treanna Lavy 2, Brooke Deeter 2, Michaela Kirk 2, Anna Wolfe 11, Mallory Dunlevy 10; Totals 2-14-10/11 – 44
Franklin Monroe – Chloe Brumbaugh 6, Belle Cable 11, Corina Conley 9, Kennedy Morris 7, Audrey Cable 10; Totals 7-8-6/10 – 43