Franklin Monroe Boys Basketball Improves to 3-0

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Franklin Monroe Ben Denlinger puts up a shot for 2 points in win over Dayton Christian. (Dale Barger photo)

PITSBURG – The Franklin Monroe boys basketball team overcame a 12-point deficit to start the game verses Dayton Christian and responded well and eventually took a lead and then grinded it out down the stretch to beat the Warriors 52-48 to go 3-0 on the year.

The Jets found themselves trailing 12-0 to start the game and didn’t score until the 3:52 in the opening quarter on a stick back by junior EB Fall. Fall didn’t enter the contest until the 4:30 mark mark and immediately had an impact on the game.

EB Fall was a factor coming off the bench helping the Jets overcome a 12-0 deficit.

The Jets were able to close the deficit down to two 12-10 by the end the 1st period. They did it by attacking the basket rather than settle for outside shots that weren’t falling early in the game.

Eight points came in the paint 4 from Fall, 2 from sophomore Lucas Brenner and 2 off a rebound hustle play from junior Ben Denlinger.

The Jets defense was able to hold the Warriors scoreless for nearly 5 minutes before they connected on a fielder at the 7:00 minute mark of the 2nd quarter.

Fall then traded a bucket with Dayton Christian that was followed up with a triple from junior Eric Brenner tying the game for the first time at 16.

FM Eric Brenner scored 15 points and had 3 triples in win over Warriors.

Eric would hit one more in the 2nd quarter to give Franklin Monroe a 22-20 lead at 2:19.

Neither team could shake free of the other as the two squads went into the brake deadlocked at 22 each. Eric Brenner had 6 points, Fall 5 points and Lucas Brenner 1 in the 2nd frame.

But for FM they had to be pleased with the way the team responded to adversity trailing 12-0 to start the game.

“I think the ability to respond is a skill and we’re in the developmental stage of that, as well as a lot of other things, last night was really no different. We got behind early, and then you have to somehow focus enough to get enough possession strung together to respond in the right way and we did that in the first half,” Franklin Monroe coach Troy Myers stated.

Eric Brenner connected on his 3rd triple to start the 2nd half to go up 25-22 but the Jet offense was unable to string together multiple scoring possessions.

FM Ty Riffle scored goes in for a lay-up against Dayton Christian.

DC jumped in front 31-27 as they hit a couple of three balls (7 for the game) before guard Ty Riffle broke free from the extend trapping zone defense they were playing to finish a lay-up at the rim to make it 31-29.

The Warriors would lead 33-30 heading into the final stanza which would end up being Franklin Monroe most productive offensive output of the night and it would be needed.

EB fall would lead the attack that saw the Jets once again get into the paint attacking the basket and putting the pressure squarely on Dayton Christian. They were successful in not only scoring but drawing fouls as well.

FM Trey Wilson had a big bucket in the 4th quarter for the Jets.

The Jets grabbed a 37-34 lead on Lucas Brenner only 3-ball of the night and then extended it to 39-34 on an Eric Brenner take to the basket at 4:54.
Dayton Christian would make a little run of their own and closed the gap to just one trailing 42-41 with 2:30 to play and then tied it at 43 moments later.

That’s when Fall took over getting to the rim to extend the Jets lead back out 47-43

With the score 49-45 the Warriors would hit a long triple from the volleyball line to give them hope trailing 49-48 with a minute left.

FM Lucas Brenner scored 10 points including a tough take here in 4th quarter.

FM was able to get two free throws from Eric Brenner and one from senior Gage Wackler to hold on and close out the game for a 52-48 non-league win.

The Jets would shoot 14-for-24 for the game from the free throw line but 9-for-13 in the final frame and that would be the difference in the game. Dayton Christian was 11-for-17 in the game.

After the game coach Myers talked further about this team as they work to try and build their identity and accept roles on the squad.

“Not only did we respond well in the first half I think we close out the game well too. We had, some guys really step up and we made free throws when they mattered and were able to close it out, after honestly struggling most of the evening. I think what’s good for us right now, our balance is, we have production coming from multiple spots. if we can continue that while truly knowing what our identity is, when we need to go get something, then I think we’re going in the right direction,” praised Myers.

Scoring for the Jets was EB Fall 19, Eric Brenner 15, Lucas Brenner 10, Trey Wilson 3, Ty Riffle and Ben Denlinger 2 each and Gage Wackler 1.

Although Franklin Monroe was led by Fall’s 19 points they had contributions across the board along with plays that don’t show up in the scoring column.

Gage Wackler battles inside, the seniors gritty effort and hustle plays have been huge contributions to the teams success.

Coach Myers when talking about his team and kids doing their job and excelling at in their role was evident in the game with heart and effort display by Gage Wackler and Ty Riffle. Both of their contributions go beyond the scorebook.

Gage is a hustle guy and when he is on the floor it’s maximum effort and no quit, the young man plays with heart. It can be summed up by a play in the first half, while being undersized Gage was able to physically take the ball away from two Dayton Christian players inside and then he made a good attempt to score but was blocked. The Warriors then gained possession and made a quick outlet pass heading the other direction looking to score on a fast break. Gage who was furthest away never quit on the play and sprinted the entire floor and just when the pass was being made to an open guy he came in from behind and regained the possession for FM. Those types of plays don’t show up in the score book but in close games an extra possession here or there can be all the difference.

Ty Riffle playing the point guard position made a big play in the first half coming in from the top of the key and at 5-8 he jumped up and pulled down a rebound from the middle of the lane over the top of two taller Warriors to give FM an extra possession. In the 2nd half he found himself one on one defensively against a guy 6 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier driving him down the right lane and there was no help side defense, but Ty was able to chest him up and make him shoot a contested layup that came up short.

Those types of efforts are winning plays and makes a team just that, a team where everyone’s contributions matter, whether its scoring 19 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, or making a hustle play they all lead to the success of the team.

That is what coach Myers means when he talks about the identity of his team.

FM Cheerleaders showing their support.

Franklin Monroe improves to 3-0, 1-0 in the WOAC and will travel to Mississinawa Valley next Friday in a league game.