COVINGTON – While most people dream of a White Christmas, the Franklin Monroe Jets were dreaming that superstar Samantha Whiteman of Covington graduated early.
Alas, it was just a dream as the senior sharpshooter showed up in full force Thursday night with 32 points. Covington used her 32 points en route to a 59-47 win against the Jets’ high-octane offense.
The Jets were led by senior Kennedy Morris, who seemed to be flying around like a Jet and popped home 19 markers in one of her best games ever. With the loss, the Jets fall to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Cross County Conference with a game on Saturday looming against Houston. Covington has taken on all comers and lost only to Versailles as they sport a fine 8-1 record and are 4-0 in the CCC.
The first frame saw the Jets playing well and jumped out to a fine 5-2 lead. This had Jet nation poised for some revenge as Franklin Monroe was knocked out of the tournament last year by these same Buccaneers. The Buccaneers then turned the table on Abbey Moore’s team by reeling off 10 straight points for a whole new ballgame at 12-5. The bleeding was finally stopped on a Jet bucket to make it 12-7 before a last second score made it 14-7 after 8 minutes of up and down action in favor of Covington.
Stepping up for the Jets was Morris with a 3-ball and Belle Cable and Corina Conley with a deuce apiece. Whiteman, who is committed to a Division II school in Nashville, Tenn., sized up the young Jets and floated in 6 points. Makenzee Maschino was not too far behind by blasting in 4 from underneath the black and white basket.
The second quarter saw scoring from both sides of the court with a little bit of defense thrown in for good measure as the nets were getting a workout. The Jets came out roaring again in the first part of the frame and got it down to 16-12 at the 6:55 mark and even closer at 18-15 with 5:50 to go as the Jet crowd was abuzz with excitement. However, the buzz was turned into a buzz saw by Whiteman and company who exploded for 8 straight points to make the scoreboard read 26-15 at the 3:44 mark. The rest of the quarter was back and forth with both teams trading baskets as the Jets were within striking distance down only by 11 at 32-21 with 16 minutes of action in the bank.
Morris again was dropping dimes and taking it to the hole as she scored every way possible with a three, a two and a freebie for 6 points. Chloe McGlinch was not far behind as she hit a three and two freebies for five to help the Jets stay in the game. Whiteman had plenty of game and then some as she almost had as many points by herself as did the Jets whole team. Whiteman exploded for 13 points with a wild array of shots, while the Jets connected for 14 points for the canto. Claudia Harrington hurried in a quick bucket and a long three to help stem the Jet comeback at crucial times. The Jets stayed in it with solid free throw shooting nailing 5 of 6 from the stripe.
The third quarter instead of the fourth was the one that decided the game as the Buccaneers came out firing with both cannons. They scored 14 out of the first 20 for a commanding 19-point lead at 46-27. The Jets were outscored 19-9 by the opportunistic Buccs. Morris again was not mesmerized by the Miami County squad and dialed in another long three and a deuce for five. Conley and Cable matched that deuce, but that was it for scoring punch.
Punching the score clock just like a time clock was none other than 5-foot-7 dynamo Whiteman, who erupted for another 11 to give her 30 for the night. Harrington helped out from long distance with two bombs and a regular for 8 as these were the only two players that scored in the 8 minutes of scoring action. Abbey Moore and company were eyeing the scoreboard and it did not look merry at 51-30 with only a few days before Santa’s big day.
The Jets lost 10 points the past quarter, but were definitely not lost in the final frame. They came back from 20 down at 57-37 to get to the final margin of 59-47 by going on an 8-0 run of their own with Whiteman and company still hitting the hardwood. The Jets had five players score with Morris again answering with five and Conley likewise. The Jets also had a long missile from McGlinch that launched into an empty bucket. The Lady Jets of Abbey Moore had eight more points than the Lady Buccs of Jim Meyer for this frame at 17, which is only four less than they had at halftime. Covington had only two players score again with Lillian Hamilton popping in six of their 8 total points.
“I am proud of our effort tonight as we did not give up and showed plenty of heart and desire. We had a 17-8 fourth quarter and made 12 out of 15 free throws so there are positives to take out of this game. Kennedy never came off the floor and played a great game despite twisting her ankle. Whiteman is as good as advertised as we have seen her play the last four years and we are definitely glad to see her graduate. We got a little bit into foul trouble and that makes it interesting with us being low in numbers. We look forward to playing at Houston on Saturday and two days after Christmas we entertain Miami East at home so there really is no Christmas break,” Moore stated.
Scoring for Franklin Monroe – Cable 4, Conley 9, Morris 19, McGlinch 8, Stella Shellabarger 5 and Chloe Peters 2 for 47. Totals – 7 triples, 7 regulars and 12 out of 15 free throws for 80 percent.
Scoring for Covington – Whiteman 32, Hamilton 8, Harrington 15 and Makenzee Maschino 4 for 59. Totals – 4 triples, 21 regulars and five free throws out of nine for 56 percent.