BROOKVILLE – Franklin-Monroe’s Chloe McGlinch had a career night on Wednesday as the No. 3 seeded Lady Jets knocked off No. 2 seed Covington 42-34 to win a Division IV sectional championship at Brookville.
McGlinch, a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard, found her shooting groove early and Covington had no answer as she poured in a career-high 19 points for the Lady Jets, who improved to 19-6 on the season.
“Once I started shooting everyone just told me not to stop,” McGlinch said. “It was awesome to be able to hit shots like that especially with everyone saying not to stop shooting. Before the game we worked on not being nervous with such a huge crowd and in a game like this. We just had to come out and play the best we can because this was a revenge game and we just had to overcome all of our nerves and just go out there and get it. It was very exciting.”
FM lost to Covington in the regular season, so revenge was a main focus for the Jets in practice this week.
“This week of practice has been the hardest week of practice,” FM coach Abbey Moore said. “I laid it on them and it was all for this moment. We had that talk in the locker room that there is a reason why we practiced so hard and we were ready for that moment tonight.
“Chloe really stepped up tonight,” she continued. “The next one steps up has been our motto all year and she was the one tonight. I knew she had it in her. She is a great shooter and has great form and fortunately she had the confidence to do it tonight. I think the Troy Christian game was when I really started to see the confidence in her. She was able to hit some big shots in this gym and I think that got her confidence going. She always nails them in practice but nobody else sees that so that was kind of like out secret weapon tonight and she was able to hit them in big situations.”
McGlinch wasted no time in getting her offensive outburst started as she connected on a 3-pointer from the corner to open the first quarter scoring at the 6:37 mark. Covington got 1 of 2 free throws from Morgan Kimmel and then a triple from Sammi Whiteman to take a 4-3 lead, but FM junior Corina Conley got her team back in front 5-4 with a regular basket at 5:24. Whiteman again put the Lady Buccs in the lead at 6-5 with a steal and drive to the basket, but McGlinch got her second triple of the game at 4:13 for an 8-6 lead. That was followed by a deuce from Stella Shellabarger and the Lady Jets never trailed again as they ended the first quarter ahead 13-8.
“This was an awesome atmosphere,” Moore said of the packed gym. Not only did Covington and FM fans show up in full force, but there were plenty of Tri-Village and Bradford fans that stayed over to watch after their game went to overtime before the Patriots pulled out the 55-49 victory. “I told the girls in our pregame speech that this is a once in a lifetime kind of thing to play in this atmosphere. I told them this is something you are never going to forget. I can remember back to tournament games when I played and those are things that I don’t forget so I just wanted them to take it all in and have fun and they did it.”
McGlinch was the key on offense for FM, but defense is what the Lady Jets have hung their hats on all season and they entered this game knowing they had to shut down Whiteman, the Cross County Conference’s leading scorer at 23 points per game. Belle Cable and Stella Shellabarger shared the duty and held Whiteman to just 11 points, 121 points under her average.
“Defense was the key,” Moore said. “When we played them in the regular season our defense against her was our letdown, so we knew we had to shift the focus tonight. Belle and Stella, I mean what they did to her tonight was phenomenal. They stayed disciplined, and even when they hit a couple shots we stayed disciplined. We didn’t let that affect our game plan and that was huge.
“We looked back at our Dec. 20 game with them a lot,” she continued. “And not just that game, but the tournament game that they knocked us out in last year. We brought that back up in practice to make sure it didn’t happen again this year. We were ready.”
Covington got to within three points on a three separate occasions in the fourth quarter, but could never get over the hump. FM led 30-25 going into the final period and Kimmel got a score at the 5:58 mark of the fourth to get the Buccs within three at 30-27. A few seconds later, Belle Cable got a breakaway drive to the basket for two points and a 32-27 lead. Senior Lauren Christian then hit a deuce for Covington to get to within three for the second time at 32-29, but Chloe Peters answered on a dish from Conley to go back up by five 34-29. At the 3:22 mark, White hit for her final two points of the game to get with three one last time at 34-31, but as time ticked away the Buccs began fouling FM sending them to the line seven times in the final 2-plus minutes of the game and the Jets connected on 8-of-14 down the stretch for the final score of 42-34. Christian did hit one more 3-pointer for Covington during the final minutes.
In addition to McGlinch’s 19 points, Conley found double digits with 11 for Franklin-Monroe. Whiteman with 11 points was the only Covington player in double figures.
“It is huge to get back to the district championship,” Moore said. “It’s huge for our program. Looking and seeing all the younger girls in the stands tonight hopefully they can see how much fun this is and hopefully that will help build our program. We played Legacy Christina third game of the year so that will be another rematch for us and hopefully we can have that same payback mentality.”
Legacy Christian defeated the Jets 40-31 back on Dec. 4 in the regular season. FM will face the Knights at 1 p.m. on Saturday for a district championship at Troy.
Score by quarters
Franklin-Monroe – Skylar Bauman 1 0 3, Belle Cable 1 0 2, Corina Conley 3 5 11, Chloe McGlinch 7 2 19, Stella Shellabarger 1 3 5, Chloe Peters 1 0 2. Totals: 14 10 42.
Covington – Morgan Lowe 2 0 4, Samantha Whiteman 5 0 11, Lillian Hamilton 1 0 2, Morgan Kimmel 2 2 6, Claudia Harrington 2 0 5, Lauren Christian 2 1 6. Totals: 14 2 34.
3-pointers – Franklin-Monroe 4 (McGlinch 3, Bauman 1), Covington 3 (Whiteman 1, Harrington 1, Christian 1).
Records: Franklin-Monroe (19-6), Covington (19-4).
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.