FM boys basketball defense shines in win over Bradford

FM Sophomore guard Lucas Brenner drives to the basket. The Jets handed the Roaders their first loss in the WOAC. (Dale Barger Photo)

PITSBURG – The Jets used a strong first quarter to jump in front of Bradford 15-7 and then relied on solid defense to hold off Bradford winning every quarter for a 55-38 WOAC conference win.

Coming into the contest the Railroaders were one of three teams undefeated in the league with the Jets one game behind. The Jets win leaves just two teams undefeated in conference play, Preble Shawnee a 66-34 winner over Tri-County North and Tri-Village a 75-38 win over Ansonia.

In the opening frame, the Jets were able to attack the basket against the man-to-man defense of Bradford with all 5 starters scoring and EB Fall leading with 7 points.

The only thing that kept Bradford in the game was on the back of point guard Owen Canan who scored 6 of the 7 points. Canan would add 10 more points in the 2nd quarter and had 16 of the 18 points for the Railroaders who trailed FM 27-18 at the half.

Owen Canan scored 18 points, 16 in 1st half to try and keep Bradford in the game. (Dale Barger Photo)

Bradford switched up on defense in the second quarter going zone which seemed to slow Franklin Monroe just a bit in getting to the rim, however, Gage Wackler and Eric Brenner were good from distance and Fall added 6 more points in the 2nd quarter.

EB Fall soared for 19 points to lead all scorers in game. (Dale Barger Photo)

“We did a lot of things right early in the game which put us in a good spot,” Franklin Monroe coach Troy Myers said about the first half play.

The Jets used the break at the half to discuss slowing down Owen Canan.

“We had been playing from behind and wanted to switch up our ball screen coverage in the second half to try and keep Canan in front of us, he’s a tough cover,” Myers commented.

The change proved to be effective for FM as they were able to limit Canan to just 2 points in the 2nd half and Bradford was going to need scoring from others.

Hudson Hill was held scoreless for 3 quarters but had 7 in the 3rd to give the Roaders a boost. (Dale Barger Photo)

Coming into the game Bradford was averaging 68 points a game on offense with Hudson Hill averaging 17 points, Canan 16.5 and Landon Wills 12.5 points a game.

Hill would net two triples in the 3rd quarter and scored 7 points, but the Jet defense held down Canan and Wills. But the Roaders got 5 points from Griffin and 2 from Zage Harleman for their best offensive quarter but still trailed 42-32 heading into the final stanza.

Franklin Monroe scored 15 points in the third quarter with Fall again leading the way with 6, Trey Wilson 4, another triple from Wackler and a fielder from Eric Brenner.

The Jets defense clamped down in the 4th period giving up just 6 points while adding 13 more to their total for the 55-38 win.

The Jets defense made it difficult on Owen Canan in the 2nd half holding him to two points. (Dale Barger Photo)

“We did a really good job on Canan in the 2nd half,” Myers stated after the game. “I know that kid works really hard on his game, so I have a lot of respect for him. And really for a lot of those kids they work an extraordinary amount. Thankfully, we were able to slow him up in the second half and hold him in check, which I think you know, obviously was a difference in the game, keeping them as low as we did on the scoreboard,” Myers added.

“I’m proud of the kids tonight but the one lesson we have to take away is how to close down the game, you know? I mean, you could look at a lot of different factors, but we did not close down that game very well, in my opinion. It’s something we have been working on and it’ll be a learning opportunity for us and thankfully to learn after you win is a good thing,” Myers added.

Franklin Monroe can be proud of the way their defense performed holding Bradford 34 points below their average and holding Wills to just two points and Hill to 7.

Gage Wackler hit two big triples and scored 12 points to hope lift the Jets to a win over Bradford. (Dale Barger Photo)

“Hill is a sharpshooter and has the ability to catch fire we worked extremely hard this week about covering up when they get out in transition and that starts with our offensive possession.

“Can we get a predictable shot on the rim and not turn it over and have a live ball run out? Then when get a transition can we identify where Hill is and not give him airspace to catch and shoot?

“I just told the kids in there I thought they did a really good job with the scouting report and to be honest, that’s a credit to some of the scout guys that come in and just our attention to detail early in the week trying to work through that stuff.”

“I think we’re getting better it’s just closing down the game is kind of a weakness right now and we have to get better,” Myers concluded.

Franklin Monroe was led by EB Fall with 19 points, Gage Wackler 12, Eric Brenner 9, Trey Wilson 6, Lucas Brenner 4, Ty Riffle 2, Brandt Filbrun 2 and Keir Boyd 2.

Bradford was led by Owen Canan with 18 points, Hudson Hill 7, Zage Harleman and Griffin Trevino 5 each, Landon Wills 2 and Dalton Branson 1.

Bradford falls to 7-3 overall and 4-1 in the WOAC and they host Fairlawn Saturday night.

Franklin Monroe improves to 8-2, 4-1 in the WOAC and they will host a good Legacy Christian team who comes in with a 7-2 record.