PITSBURG – It was the 60th year for the Jet Holiday Tournament and the Franklin Monroe Boys basketball team did everything right but win the game falling in overtime to Maumee Country Day out of Toledo 54-52
Maumee now 7-0 on the year and ranked #2 by Maxpreps in Ohio DIV basketball beat a good 6-3 Brookville team 59-41 the night before to advance to the championship game.
The Jets were winners over Mississinawa Valley the night before and came into the game with a 7-1 record with their only loss coming at the hands of Preble Shawnee a few weeks ago but it was a loss that left an indelible mark on them.
“I think two weeks ago we would not know how to compete in a game like this, everybody knows what happened in the Preble game … but our fight was different today,” veteran coach Troy Myers stated after the game.
The Jets played composed against an athletic team that many didn’t expect them to do for a full game against a ranked opponent and something they didn’t do a few weeks ago.
Franklin Monroe started with a bang on a triple from Eric Brenner who had a big night on offense as the junior tallied 27 points and was named to the Jet All-Tournament Team.
Eric scored 5 points, Lucas Brenner, Ty Riffle and EB Fall each had two points and held an 11-7 lead in the opening frame.
Eric followed up his first quarter with another 5 in the 2nd and a 3-pointer from Gage Wackler over the top of 6-10’ freshman Ty Lewis gave the Jets a 16-10 lead in the 2nd quarter.
Franklin Monroe then took a 21-17 lead in the locker-room at the break.
In the third quarter Eric Brenner hit two big triples as offense was tough going with the 2nd trey giving FM their biggest lead of the night 32-25 with two minutes to go.
But the Hawks finally tapped into senior Amani Dickerson who scored the next 7 points tying the game at 32 heading into the 4th quarter.
The Hawks then grabbed the lead for the first time on a triple and held a 36-34 lead until Trey Wilson got a bucket in the paint that was followed by a Lucas Brenner lay-up to recapture the lead at 38-36.
But on four straight trips to the free throw line the Jets netted just 4 points; a free throw by Lucas, Ty Riffle and two by Eby Fall good enough for FM to hold a 42-36 lead with 2 1/2 minutes to play.
Up to this point in the game Franklin Monroe had worked their game plan well forcing Maumee Valley to take contested perimeter shots and not getting anything in the paint. The Hawks who had made just two triples in the previous 3 quarters connected for 5 of in the 4th frame, three in the last 2 ½ minutes to tie the game at 47 forcing overtime.
Maumee jumped on top 52-47 in the OT period … but EB Fall sank two free throws and Eric Brenner nailed his 5th triple to tie the game at 52 with .48 seconds to go.
C.J. Majors went down the middle of the lane to score at the rim putting the Hawks up 54-52 with 4 seconds to go. The Jets would race the ball up the court with EB Fall getting up a contested three pointer that fell short and Maumee Country Day would win the 60th Jet Holiday Championship.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Franklin Monroe, but it was a game that showed growth for the team from just two weeks ago.
“The last two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter we didn’t get the stops we needed. The plan all night was to keep the ball in front and shrink the floor and make them shoot perimeter jump shots. And unfortunately for us, in the last two and a half minutes they made some big ones. We’re not happy by any means, but we’re proud of the effort proud of the plan, proud of the discipline our kids had and all but two and a half minutes of the game to be honest we played really well. So, I’m extremely proud of their growth in the last two weeks,” Troy Myers commented.
Franklin Monroe was led by Eric Brenner’s 27 points, EB Fall and Lucas Brenner each had 8 points. Fall never scored a field goal with all his points coming at the free throw line as Maumee Valley tried to double him up. Other scorers were Gage Wackler & Ty Riffle 3 each, Trey Wilson 2 and Ben Denlinger 1. The Jets were 20-for-26 from the free throw line for the game.
The game also served to show that the Franklin Monroe can score the ball besides EB Fall with Eric and Lucas Brenner continuing to develop their games.
Eric has developed different parts of his game than he has had before. And so now he’s able to score on different levels and makes him more dynamic. He’s gaining strength at the rim. He’s gaining strength with the ball on the floor, being able to handle it. And so, it just makes him more dynamic, he’s a tough cover. People, try to stop Eby, it’s no secret, you take him away, but now there’s someone else dynamic on the floor. And he’s really been able to stretch the defense for us and do a great job. So that’s encouraging to see.
Lucas Brenner grew up a ton as well, his ability to handle the ball and control our offense was way different than 14 days ago and so his growth specifically was tremendous. So, when you put guys like that on the floor who can put pressure on the rim then I think we’re gaining, I don’t think we’re there just yet but it’s going to make us more powerful in the second half of our season,” Myers concluded.