PITSBURG – The Franklin-Monroe Jets defeated Houston in boys basketball 92-80 on a record-breaking performance turned in by senior Ethan Conley.
The 6-foot-4 senior hit the ground running and when the first quarter ended the Jets led 23-14 and Conley already had 16 points and you could feel it was going to be a special night for this young man.
FM sophomore Jackson Crist hit two triples for 6 points Ky Cool had 5 points and Connor Crist 3 points in the first half.
The first half was played at a very fast pace with both teams content to push the ball up the court resulting in a 45-30 lead for the Jets at the break.
At the half, Conley had tallied 30 points and the crowd was beginning to whisper and some were in search of what the single-game scoring record at Franklin-Monroe was in anticipation of witnessing history. After a little research the single game scoring record was 44 points by Todd Robbins against Brookville back in 1988.
In the third quarter Houston made a bigger emphasis on slowing down Conley and shots he got in the first half were harder to come by. Everything was challenged on the inside which resulted in Conley being a frequent free thrower in the second half.
Senior Connor Crist scored 6 points in the third quarter and Conley 13, but the Jets gave up 27 points allowing the Wildcats an opportunity to get back into the game trailing 64-57 heading into the final stanza.
With the game still in the balance Conley wasn’t going to the bench anytime soon and at the 6:44 mark of the game he would toe the charity stripe with his first shot tying the record for points in a game at 44 and the second one being true to break the record that stood for 30 years with point number 45 bringing the home crowd to their feet recognizing the accomplishment.
But that wouldn’t be the only record to fall on this night with Houston sending Conley to the line often. He was quickly approaching another record – most free throws attempted and made in a single game.
The fourth quarter was wild, woolly and very fast as the Jets got scoring from five different guys. Senior Jordan Rhoades dropped 7 of his 9 points in the frame, Jackson Crist had 5, Luke Booher 3 and Ky Cool 2 to go along with Conley’s 11 points as the Jets went on to claim the 12-point, non-conference win over Houston.
Conley ended the game with 54 points on 14 field goals including seven 3-pointers, and ended up 19-for-22 from the free throw line.
The 19 free throws made broke the single game record of 16 set by John Crossley in 1968 against Ansonia and Daryl Ullery against Westmont in 1972.
Dan Franz attempted the most free throws of 20 back in 1967 verses Covington.
It was definitely an historical night and a performance from Ethan Conley that those in attendance won’t soon forget.
After the game and having some time to process everything that happened Ethan was able to put into words what this night meant to him.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” Conley said. “Every single year since my freshman year I have walked past the record board. I thought to myself for three years that it would be an amazing feat to someday be able to break it, and my hopes became reality. I had no idea about the free-throw record though. I just wanted to get Houston in foul trouble and get to the line as many times as I could to help the team win. Whenever I step on the court, I want to give it 100 percent and be in attack mode for the whole game. Holding those records now is amazing. Being able to be a part of history with some of Franklin-Monroe’s greats like Mike Cross, Tim Robins, Dan Franz and every great player who has played here is an honor and a blessing.”
FM basketball coach Troy Myers weighed in on the night as well.
“It was an historical night. What Ethan accomplished doesn’t happen but once in about 30 years. I feel all-in-all he was super-efficient and super aggressive which allowed him to get some easy buckets an and-ones at the rim because of that effort,” Myers said. “Ethan took a handful of bad shots tonight, but he isn’t selfish, and he encourages and wants his teammates to score as well. I told our guys you just have to respect what the game is presenting and when he is on a roll like he was you’re going to take a few bad shots and live with it.
“What I love about this team is they are super competitive and if there is a guy who doesn’t feel like he is impacting the game he might get frustrated, but as far as any guys being jealous on this team that doesn’t exist. They are all just trying to find a way to contribute,” he continued. “I feel like Ethan is getting a lot of attention, but I also think he’s becoming more dynamic it’s not all about him scoring. He’s moving the basketball when it needs to be moved and getting his other teammates engaged so they have the confidence to score as well. If you don’t have that you’re not getting 92 points. So, I feel like our team is developing in that way and that’s a lot of credit to him.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is I hate giving up 80 points and when your defensive effort isn’t as good as you think it should or could be that bothers me as a coach, but I think that’s the pace the game dictated, we wanted to run, and they wanted to run, and we went with it. Defensively I’m not pleased, but I’ve got a ton of respect for our kids on the way they are growing up and we’ll take a 12-point win any day of the week,” Myers added. “Our crowd was super tonight and we felt it, and I believe we gave them a good reason to be excited with our style of basketball. It’s not often you get to witness a performance like Ethan Conley’s, it was one for the ages.”
Franklin-Monroe basketball records weren’t the only ones to fall Saturday night. A more personal record fell as well, one that gave Ethan bragging rights in the family. Ethan’s dad Javan also saw his record of 47 points in a game back in 1993 at Findlay High School fall to his son for top honors in the family. He wasn’t willing to concede the record noting his 47 points were all on two-pointers and free throws while not having shot any 3-pointers to garner those 47 points. He noted if the 7 triples made by Ethan were two’s he would have also just scored 47 points.
Try as he might to justify it those honors and bragging rights now belong to Ethan.
“Being able to outscore my dad was one of my lifetime goals since I was a kid,” Ethan said. “My dad is my No. 1 role model and I’ve strived to be as good of a player and person as him. Now that I have passed him, I think I need to be making some decisions around the house!” he joked.
“I know he mentioned he never shot a 3 in his 47 point game,” Ethan said. “But he was also quick to let it be known that he is better shooter than he was as well.
“All joking aside it feels great to finally accomplish my lifetime goal and my dad was hoping I would break his record, his support for me throughout my career has been amazing. I love him and my family very much,” Ethan concluded.
Score by quarters
Houston: Leist 0-6-2/4 – 13, Freistuhler 4-1-1/2 – 15, Ludwig 3-3-5/6 – 20, P. Arnold 1-1-3/5 – 8,
B. Arnold 0-1-2/3 – 4, Douglas 0-8-03/3 – 19; Totals 8-24-16/24 – 80
Franklin-Monroe: Cool 1-2-0/1 – 7, Rhoades 0-4-1/2 – 9, C. Crist 0-3-2/3 – 8, J. Crist 2-1-3/4 – 11,
Conley 7-7-19/22 – 54; Totals 10-18-26/34 – 92
Three Pointers: Houston 8 (Freistuhler 4, Ludwig 3, P. Arnold 1), Franklin-Monroe 10 (Conley 7, J. Crist 2, Cool 1)
Records: Houston (0-3), Franklin-Monroe (2-1)