BROOKVILLE – Franklin Monroe let an 11-point halftime lead slip away but made a couple of big free throws late to defeat Legacy Christian Academy 33-31 in the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV girls basketball tournament.
The young Jets looked like a veteran team early on, using the dribble drive, screening, cutting and moving the basketball to generate a balanced offensive attack with five players scoring in the half.
Corina Conley and Audrey Cable both had 6 points, Kinsey Goins and Belle Cable added 4 points each, and Chloe Peters 2 gave the Jets a 22-11 halftime advantage.
“We did a great job of getting the ball inside early, and it worked well for us in the first half,” Franklin Monroe coach Abbey Moore said.
Legacy Christian made good use of the halftime break, came out and put up 15 points in the third period while holding the Jets to just 7 points to pull within 3, 29-26.
With the momentum in the Knights’ favor they tied the game on a triple, and moments later grabbed the lead for the first time on a fielder 31-29 with 5:30 to play.
The final stanza was a defensive battle, one the Knights won 5-4 … but Conley’s free throw with 19.3 seconds regained the lead at 32-31 for FM, and then Audrey Cable added another free throw with 0.9 seconds left to play to secure the win, 33-31.
“Wow, that was a battle,” Coach Moore said with a sigh after the game.
“Our defense let us down in the third quarter. We gave up the dribble penetration that led to some easy scores,” Moore added.
“For these girls to persevere, come out and get it done down the stretch is a testament to our pre-game speech. We had to be warriors and play with heart. It’s all about who wants it more, and we did enough to move on to fight again. That is what matters the most,” Moore said.
Coach Moore noted the Jets had to fight through adversity with Conley in foul trouble and sitting much of the second half.
“Corina Conley getting in foul trouble hurt us a bit,” Moore said. “It’s not only her scoring and rebounding that we miss. It’s her overall presence on the court that makes a difference, especially on defense.
“Audrey Cable played well. She took care of the ball and guarded their best player … but she tells me all the time she is up to the task, and I can tell when I look in her eyes I trust her, and she delivered,” Moore added.
“I wasn’t thrilled with our free throw shooting. We have been around 70 percent all year … but today we were just 3-for-13. If we make our free throws it’s a different game, so you better believe we will be working on them this week in practice,” Moore concluded.
Franklin Monroe was led by Audrey Cable with 11 points. Conley scored 9 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds.
Newton, a 72-23 winner over Tri-County North, is up next for Franklin Monroe.
Less than two weeks ago Jets defeated Newton 51-45. The two will square off in what is sure to be a thriller at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Brookville High School.
Score by quarters:
LC …. 04 … 07 … 15 … 05 – 31
FM … 12 … 10 … 07 … 04 – 33
Riddle 13, Combs 4, Sweeney 10, Howard 4
Totals 1-12-4/10 – 31
B. Cable 4, A. Cable 11, Conley 9, Peters 2, Goubeaux 3, Goins 4
Totals 0-15-3/13 – 33