Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:05:11 AM - Monroe Ohio
By Logan Sewell
MONROE _ The Monroe Hornets' girls basketball team opened their season with a bang off the bench, beating the pesky Franklin Wildcats 43-27 at Monroe High School on Monday night.
Franklin was coming off a season-opening loss to Waynesville. After falling behind 3-0, the Hornets went on a 13-4 run to lead 13-7 going into the second quarter. Monroe's in-your-face man-to-man defense disrupted the flow of the offense for Franklin, and second-quarter turnovers off the pressure helped the Hornets shut Franklin out in the second quarter and take a 22-7 lead at halftime.
But Franklin made adjustments at the half, and came out with a full-court press that confused the Hornets. The Wildcats outscored Monroe 12-4 in the third quarter, to creep within seven heading into the final quarter.
"We came out and shot real well and then we went in a slump; Franklin being a very aggressive team closed, and we were able to make shots at the end to finish the game out which is good," said Monroe varsity girls head coach David Farrish.
He said the Hornets had scouted Franklin and knew they played hard, "so we challenged our girls, and I thought our girls worked hard tonight."
The Wildcats cut the once-15-point deficit to just seven at 28-21 before senior guard Sarah Basford came off the bench and nailed a three -pointer to increase Monroe's lead to 10, and Franklin never threatened again.
"The key of the game was the play of the bench, everybody on the team contributed," said Farrish. "Basford comes in stone cold and makes a key three to stop the run. She didn't play all night, and she came in and did what she was supposed to do. But we had a lot of girls at some point in the game contribute."
It was reserve players such as Basford and junior guard Megan Keener rising to the occasion and scoring crucial points to keep Franklin at bay. Keener finished the contest with nine points off the bench.
Franklin's Erica Terrill and Jessica Prichard had strong games in the losing effort with seven points each.
Monroe junior guard Sara Rossi played a terrific game, directing the offense on some occasions, and on defense creating turnovers that turned into fast-break points. She led scoring with 17 points.
The Monroe Lady Hornets hope to win the MML in its last year of existence, a feat the girls' soccer team was able to accomplish in the fall.
"If things go in the right way, we might be able to compete for the MML South," said head varsity girls basketball coach David Farrish, "But things should be interesting because of graduating seniors, but we have some seniors returning."
The Hornets return two starters from last season in seniors guard Bethany Davidson, and forward Amy Triick. The Hornets lost firepower from last year with the graduation of three starters in center Julie Burns, forward Shelby Pettus, and guard Rachel Daubenmire. But the Hornets believe that senior guard Natalie Creekbaum, sophomore center Chelsea Thompson, and junior forward Sara Rossi will do well replacing them.
"I think having Creekbaum back will be key because she is very quick, she can use both hands, and she is just an intense ballplayer," Farrish, Monroe's head coach for the past five years with a record of 41-43, said.
Davidson had this to say about Creekbaum: "We have played together since seventh grade and not having her last year was a big upset (Creekbaum sat out last year due to health issues); she is going to be one of the top players in the MML."
This year the Hornets, on offense, will be running motion plays and on defense Monroe will be playing on the ball, man-to-man defense and will press whenever the opportunity presents itself.
"Coach is getting us to run the floor and get a shot off in eight seconds," Davidson said on what they have been doing to force the opposition into playing an up tempo game.
The MML South should be very competitive this year with Talawanda and Fenwick among the top contenders.