TROY – After watching fourth seed Tri-County North get upset in the game before theirs, the Franklin Monroe Jets seemed even more resolved to take care of business in their first round tournament game.
And they did take care of business in blue-collar fashion – going to work with a gritty defense and a patient offense that gradually dismantled the Southeastern Trojans 68-35.
It was hard to pick out any one outstanding player as it was a total team effort. Three Franklin Monroe players would score in double figures – Zach Cable, Parker Hesler and Ethan Conley. Defensively, the Jets played mainly in their familiar man to man, which has been their mainstay. They did do some trapping and briefly went to a zone, but their man to man held the Trojans to just 35 points.
Rebounding is another stat that doesn’t show up in the box scores. The Jets held the Trojans to just one shot on most possessions, and their offensive rebounding was strong as well. A lot of points were made from offensive rebounds that were kicked back out and the ball worked around the perimeter for another shot.
“Our defense became a big point of emphasis since our loss at Twin Valley South,” Franklin Monroe boys basketball coach Troy Myers said. “All four coaches – eight pairs of eyes – have been watching what we do on defense. When you do that in practice and it becomes part of the training, when you do that and people are accountable, then it makes a difference. You are only as good as your training in big games. It led to better defense and better rebounding tonight.”
At halftime it was a low scoring game with the Jets up 24-15. They answered the bell resoundingly in the second half and just overwhelmed the Trojans. Franklin Monroe went to work and methodically grew its lead to outscore Southeastern 44-20 in the second half.
In the fourth quarter when Southeastern was trying desperately to make a comeback, the disciplined Jets were able to stretch out their possessions and eat the clock. They played keep-away and patiently waited for the Trojans to overplay on defense and when a mistake was made, knife to the basket for an easy layup and extend their lead even more.
“Really big credit to our kids for their preparation,” Coach Myers said. “They were very intentional on what they did early – we set the tone, and we threw the first punch. And unlike a couple of weeks ago, we continued to throw punches. It is important in a tournament to be consistent throughout the entire game and to be tough when it matters. We took care of the ball late like a good team should.
“One of things I noticed as the team prepared was that their heart was right and they worked together – they played for each other. Execution is so key at this time of the year. It can be ball control, hitting a set, executing a scout on the defensive end. What wins in the tournament is discipline. We did what needed to done for four quarters tonight.”
Franklin Monroe now advances to play Emmanuel Christian at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Troy in the second round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament.
Scoring: Ressler 4, Filbrun 6, Cable 14, McGlinch 3, Hesler 10, Conley 21