PITSBURG – A silent second quarter for Franklin-Monroe’s top two scorers – Ethan Conley and Connor Crist – proved devastating against Cedarville on Saturday night.
Conley finished the game with 21 points and Crist had 14, but it was Cedarville’s Colby Cross who celebrated with 8 points in the second quarter and then in the end with a narrow 51-50 non-league victory over the Jets.
Despite the lack of production in the second quarter, FM held a 40-37 after three quarters, but again it was Cross who lifted his team by scoring 9 of his team-leading 19 points including the game-winner with 21 seconds remaining. The Jets (9-7) ran a play in the finals second but could not score.
“We had one huge rebound at the end of the game that we didn’t get,” FM coach Troy Myers said. “I told the kids in the timeout that we are one huge rebound away from winning this game because they had to foul us at that point. So we don’t get the rebound, they get the ball and they get a score and then we come down and take an ill-advised shot. It is youth, but is is lack of discipline too. We work on execution so much that is disappointing down the stretch. If you are going to be a great team you better execute when it matters and I don’t feel like we did that tonight.
“That tempo is not the tempo we want to play,” he continued. “It was slow, but give them a lot of credit. There kids hung in there and played hard and they got the shots they wanted I feel like. They didn’t force a whole lot and that is what it comes down to…who is going to be the most disciplined.”
Cross also celebrated earning his 1,000th career point during the second quarter. The game was stopped briefly as his teammates celebrated the moment and he handed the game ball to his parents.
“I’m so excited for Colby getting his 1,000th point,” Cedarville coach Ryan Godlove said. “He is a kid that works his butt off in the offseason and has matured so much not just with his ability on the court, but in being a good team player. He is obviously a great scorer, but he is growing in his other basketball abilities. His defense was huge for us tonight so for him to be able to celebrate and get that recognition I’m just proud of him.
“As for the game, that was a great team win for us,” he continued. “I am proud of our guys. Franklin-Monroe is a very nice team and the coach does an excellent job, and obviously (Ethan) Conley is a really nice player, so for us to come into an environment like this and get a win is just huge for us.”
FM had built a 21-9 lead when Ky Cool his a deuce to open scoring in the second quarter, but the rest of the quarter belonged to the Indians who outscored the Jets 14-3 the rest of the period. Cool added a 3-pointer to account for all five of FM’s points in the frame.
Cedarville took its first lead of the game to open the second half on a bucket from Hunter Baldwin, but then Franklin-Monroe regained the lead and was able to stretch it back out to 40-29 with 1:26 left in the third period. Conley got a rebound and put it back in for the 2-point play that made it and 11-point lead for the Jets. It capped a 10-0 run by FM, but from that point forward Cedarville outscored the Jets 22-10 in the win.
“Ethan and Connor played pretty well, but Cedarville did a good job in the second half,” Myers said. “Starting in the second quarter they went to a diamond-and-1 and just flooded Ethan and made it tough for him to catch. Teams have been doing that a lot to us and we know that, but we have to get some production outside of Ethan. Connor stepped up and had a really good game, but we have to have more than two guys that are able to contribute on the offensive end. You just have to have that and when you struggle to get production outside of two guys it is going to be hard to score and that is why we only got to 50. You got to give Cedarville credit. They did a good job defensively and we were kind of out of sync a little bit but those two kids played their tails off.”
On Friday night, Franklin-Monroe came away with a 71-44 win over Bradford that earned Myers his 100th career victory.
“Last night getting my 100th win was a very special moment not just for me but for our program,” Myers said. “We had a lot of alumni that came back and to be able to have all those guys in the locker room after the game with our current guys meant a whole lot to me and there is a lot of people to thank for that. Dane French, who gave me the start in the very beginning, to our administration, to the coaches who have been hear for darn near all the wins and just a lot of special people to thank that have been part of this.
“The game is a great teacher,” he continued. “I don’t know that we are great teachers, but I know the game is and we have taught these guys a whole lot about life and influenced their lives more than just on the floor. I feel like that is the platform we have and that is the responsibility we have and we take it very seriously, so losses like this sting because we are competitors at the end of the day. When we are on the floor the No. 1 priority is winning and we didn’t do that tonight, so yeah it was a special moment but honestly today is just another work day and I feel like if you are consistent with your work win, lose, whatever, then you are going to get better so that is what we have to do be consistent with our work.”
Franklin-Monroe gets back on the floor at Arcanum on Feb. 1.
Score by quarters
Cedarville – Trent Koning 2 4 9, Isaiah Ramey 4 0 9, Benjamin Tarwater 3 0 7, Hunter Baldwin 2 1 5, Caleb McKinion 1 0 2, Colby Cross 8 0 19. Totals: 20 5 51.
Franklin-Monroe – Ky Cool 2 0 5, Jordan Rhoades 2 2 6, Connor Crist 4 6 14, Luke Booher 1 0 2, Jackson Crist 1 0 2, Ethan Conley 7 6 21. Totals: 17 14 50.
3-pointers – Cedarville 6 (Cross 3, Koning, Ramey, Tarwater), Franklin-Monroe 2 (Cool, Conley).
Records: Cedarville (8-8), Franklin-Monroe (9-7)
JV score: Franklin-Monroe 45, Cedarville 35.
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.