KYLE SHANER/Advocate photo
Franklin Monroe’s Haley Gray shoots a basket during a girls basketball game against Coldwater Tuesday night in Pitsburg.
PITSBURG – A stretch in the third quarter in which the Lady Jets lost focus led to a 55-41 loss to Coldwater Tuesday night for the Franklin Monroe girls basketball team.
Franklin Monroe played close with Coldwater for much of the game, only trailing 19-18 at halftime and leading 23-22 early in the third quarter. But then Coldwater scored 16 of the next 20 points, which proved to be the downfall of Franklin Monroe.
“We played hard,” Franklin Monroe girls basketball coach Gavin Spitler said. “We made some mistakes. There was about a three-, four-minute period in the third quarter where we, you know, lost focus on the goal, and we threw the ball away too many times. If you take that three-, four-minute period there in the third quarter, take that away, that’s the difference in the basketball game.”
The game began with Coldwater taking an early lead. The Cavaliers made two 3-pointers to score the game’s first six points and built a 10-3 lead.
Taylor Robins, who scored the first three points of the game for the Jets on a basket and subsequent free throw, pulled Franklin Monroe back into the game with three first quarter 3-pointers, tying the game at 12-12 at the end of the opening period.
The Jets’ outside shooting kept them in the game in the second quarter as Claire Neiswander and Michelle Heckman both made a 3-pointer, making it 19-18 in favor of Coldwater at halftime.
While the outside shooting was working well for Franklin Monroe, Spitler said, he thought the Jets should have attempted more 3-pointers, especially in the second half.
“We can shoot the basketball when we look to shoot it, but sometimes we pass up shots,” he said. “Sometimes we pass up good ones and end up forcing poor shots. But when we run our sets and get into transition and we get can open looks and take them, we can hit them. We did that at the beginning, and for whatever reason we stopped shooting from the outside.”
Franklin Monroe’s only successful 3-pointer of the second half came early in the third quarter from Neiswander. Then down 22-21, Haley Gray gave Franklin Monroe its first lead of the night as she drew a foul and made both free throws, giving the Jets a 23-22 lead.
But from there things went downhill for Franklin Monroe. The Jets were only able to get a basket from Gray and two free throws from Robins the rest of the third quarter as they fell behind 38-27.
“We lost our focus, started to throw the ball away – too many turnovers,” Spitler said. “And it wasn’t the whole game there were a lot of turnovers; it was that three- or four-minute span where we made lots of, we just made bad decisions. It’s not that we didn’t play hard; it’s just that we made bad decisions. The rest of the game they play well and played with them. That’s a good basketball team. And if we don’t have that little span, then it’s down to the wire.”
Franklin Monroe never was able to recover, trailing by 10 or more points the rest of the game on the way to a 55-41 non-conference loss.
Robins led Franklin Monroe with 16 points in the game. Also for the Jets, Neiswander scored 10 points, Gray scored eight, Heckman scored three, and Cori Jeffers and Allison Snider both added two.