PITSBURG – Like two boxers in a boxing match, the Franklin Monroe Jets and the Dayton Christian Warriors battled back and forth on Tuesday.
The Warriors had the advantage in the first quarter, but the Jets were able to adjust to their quickness and athleticism and get the lead in the next two quarters. But when the bell sounded for the final round of the match, the Jets did not respond. They did not score until late in the quarter while the Warriors were busy catching up and then building a lead – eventually winning 69-55.
The Warriors definitely had the taller team and had good team speed. They used their athleticism in the first quarter with an effective press that had the Jets stymied at first.
Franklin Monroe got things figured out in the second quarter, and Kyle Ressler gave the Jets their first lead when he sunk a trey about midway through the period. Ethan Conley sank a couple of baskets at the end of the quarter to give the Jets their margin. They entered the locker room with a 32-28 lead.
The Warriors went back to the press after halftime, but the Jets were able to get past it again, and they went back into their zone defense that they used throughout the game. The Jets briefly went to a zone in the first half, but when the Warriors started hitting their outside shots, the Jets went back to their familiar man to man, which they used for the remainder of the game.
Franklin Monroe got its biggest lead of the night late in the third quarter when Jordan Rhoades connected from the field for a 7-point lead, 49-42. The Jets did not know it yet, but that would be the last shot that they would hit for the next six minutes.
In a boxing match you can answer the bell for the final round in one of two ways: Full of vigor and aggressiveness or timid and leery. The Warriors were aggressive and quickly caught up and passed the Jets.
Meanwhile the Jets just didn’t answer the bell. Whatever mojo they had in the past two quarters was gone. They would not score for the next five minutes. Franklin Monroe seemed to self-destruct as it committed turnovers on offense and its shooters went stone cold. It was disappointing to lose a game that seemed to be in reach.
“We did not run to the fight; that is the bottom line,” Franklin Monroe boys basketball coach Troy Myers said. “We got hit hard in the fourth quarter, and we did not respond. Instead we ran away from it. Dayton Christian is a really good team, and they play really good when it matters. I am disappointed that our guys ran away from the fight and didn’t put our nose into the middle of it.”
Parker Hesler would score 15 points with five treys.
“Hesler is coming back from injury,” Myers said. “This was his first 100 percent night back. He played really well. When he got his feet set he was spot on. He was very productive on offense for us tonight.”