PITSBURG – Franklin Monroe started off slow but still beat Twin Valley South 45-40 in Cross County Conference action Tuesday night in Pitsburg.
The Franklin Monroe boys basketball team managed just four points in the first quarter, falling into a 14-4 deficit through the first eight minutes of the game. While the team didn’t come ready to play, the Jets did a good job of responding to the adversity, coach Troy Myers said.
“We did what we had to do in the second half,” he said. “We made some adjustments that I thought got us through the game. We weren’t ready to play the first quarter when the ball went into the air, but I got kids that responded to the adversity early on.”
Franklin Monroe took an early 4-2 lead with baskets from Travis Feitshans and Marcus Horner. But then Twin Valley South scored the final 12 points of the quarter, which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the period, to take a 14-4 lead.
The Panthers expanded their lead to 16-4 early in the second quarter before the Jets started to make their comeback, reducing the deficit to one point at 23-22 by halftime. A big part of the comeback was Franklin Monroe’s outside shooting as Grant Skelton, Devin Fourman, Martin Maksvytis and Zach Hyre each sank a 3-pointer in the second quarter.
“That’s not really who we are,” Myers said about the the 3-point shooting of the Jets, who made seven of them on the night. “We talked about that even before the game that we don’t want to settle for that shot. We want to have guys who can attack the rim and be tough. I thought we settled. Fortunately we knocked some shots down, but I thought we settled a little too much the first half. But some games are like that, guys get in a rhythm and they’re feeling a shot. You can’t blame them for that. Fortunately for us they went down tonight.”
Franklin Monroe scored the first six points of the second half, allowing the Jets to take a lead for the first time since early in the first quarter. Twin Valley South was able to tie the game at 31-31 midway through the third quarter, but the Jets never relinquished their lead.
With a 38-33 lead entering the fourth quarter, Franklin Monroe played even with Twin Valley South in the period to finish off the 45-40 win.
“I thought our patience improved as the game went on,” Myers said. “I don’t know if it’s nerves or what it is, but 13 games into your season I think that would be gone by now. But we just weren’t finishing. We had good looks. We just weren’t finishing, and we weren’t executing our sets like we needed to. But like I said, they settled down and they started getting better looks and started capitalizing on our opportunities.”
Franklin Monroe had seven players score Tuesday night, six of who were in the five to 10 point range. Feitshans led the Jets with 10 points followed by eight from Fourman, seven from Horner, six from Maksvytis, six from Trey Mong, five from Hyre and three from Skelton.
“That’s who were are,” Myers said about Franklin Monroe’s balanced scoring. “That’s our identity.”
Myers said he was proud of the Jets and how the players stepped up when they faced adversity. The team is still a work in progress, he said, but the Jets are working toward becoming a better team.
“I’m just proud of our kids, man. We haven’t figured it out yet. I’ll be completely honest. Our machine isn’t polished, and we know that. But the good thing about it is we’re a work in progress and our kids, I think they understand that we have to get better every day. For us it’s not about right now, it’s really about who we are at the end of our season, playing our best ball. I think we’re progress, it may be slowly, but I think we’re getting there. But I’m just proud of our kids resiliency tonight.”