PITSBURG – Just as a warm blanket comforts you at night, the same could be said for Franklin Monroe’s blanket coverage of the Bethel Bees Tuesday night.
The Lady Jets went on a comforting 16-0 run in the third quarter on their way to an important Cross County Conference win over Bethel, 63-39. The score was 29-23 in favor of the Jets with 6:38 to go in the third frame and the next thing you know the scoreboard suddenly read 45-23 with 1:56 left before Bethel could counter with a bucket of their own.
Coach Corey Steinke’s Bees were game and came in with a stellar 5-2 mark losing only to Division I Troy and Darke County dynamo Arcanum. The win propels the Jets to a 4-2 overall mark and an all important W in the hotly-contested Cross County Conference.
First quarter firings saw everyone getting their six dollars worth and then some with the Lady Jets posting an even dozen markers while the Bees buzzed in with 11 right before the buzzer. Aiding and abetting the cause was FM’s Belle Cable cranking in 7 points along with Corina Conley’s 4. The Bees responded back with Natalie Moorman’s 6 and sharpshooter Kenna Gray’s long triple.
The second quarter saw the Jets fueled again by the Conley-Cable show which had a direct impact on the first half. Conley had 9 points with a three followed closely by cohort Cable with 6 on two long range threes that dialed up nothing but net. The Bees were dialing for help and only Moorman answered the phone with five and Skylar Johnson called up from the reserves could muster a three against the Jets dynamic defense. It was 29-21 as the teams headed in for halftime oratories by FM coach Abbey Moore and Bethel’s Steinke.
Third quarter theatrics were very theatrical with every Jet fan buying a ticket to see the show that turned a minuscule 6-point lead (29-23) into a huge 22-point lead at 45-23. This happened in a little over five minutes and after this occurrence it was over and out for the Bees. The Bees were swarmed over from every spot on the floor by the defensive-minded blue and white Jets.
On the offensive side, lefty Stella Shellabarger shellacked the nets for all of her 12 points in just 8 minutes of action with two threes, two buckets and a free throw to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Conley calmly chipped in with 7 to help the 22-point quarter bust out as the Jets had only 29 at halftime. The bewildered Bees only had six for the quarter with Lydia Lowery, Klaudia Lowery and Olivia Reittinger posting a deuce apiece.
The pieces of the puzzle were coming together for a Jet victory with a 24-point advantage at 51-27.
Fourth quarter happenings had both squads subbing frequently with the bench players getting valuable playing time for future games. The Jets had Conley matching half her brother’s total from the other night against Houston with seven for a game high 27 points. (Ethan Conley had 54 points vs. Houston). Cable was not too far behind with four and almost made the 20-point neighborhood with 19. The Bees had scoring outbursts from Gray with four and backup center Makenna Floyd matching that total with 2 strong inside buckets. Both teams had an even dozen points scoring wise for a final score of 63-39 with the Jets oddly winning the first and fourth quarters by a combined one point, 24-23.
One of the big differences of the game was the Jets ability to hit the three ball as they outgunned the Bees by 15 points, making seven while the Bees hit just two.
”We played an aggressive game and we knew that going in which helped with our focus,” Moore said. “We rebounded well and that helped with the transition game. I was very proud of our efforts as we came out in the second half very focused. Stella Shellabarger really gave us a charge in the third quarter as we were able take control of the game with a 16-0 run. We were able to put three in double figures and that is always a plus. We must put this good win behind us and get ready for Ansonia on Thursday at home.”
Scoring: Franklin Monroe – Skylar Bauman 2, Cable 19, Conley 27, Chloe McGlinch 1, Kennedy Morris 2, Shellabarger 12. for 63 points. (7 threes, 17 twos, and 8 free throws of 12 for 67 percent.)
Bethel – Reittinger 2, Moorman 11, Klaudia Lowery 7, Gray 7, Johnson 3, Lydia Lowery 5, Floyd 4 for 39 points. (2 threes, 13 twos, and seven free throws of nine for 78 percent.)