PITSBURG – The Franklin Monroe Lady Jets basketball program is taking a big step forward to start the 2017-2018 season, a year that will see the Lady Jest program sporting a JV squad that has been missing for the past two seasons.
“We have four freshmen coming up this year so we are going to be able to play a JV schedule which is huge,” said Franklin Monroe Coach Abbey Moore. “We haven’t the last couple years so that’s going to be a huge part of building our program this year. We will be playing a two-quarter JV game and then the varsity game. That is going to help those girls get some good experience this year and then it will allow them to be available for the varsity game as well.”
“Last year was a positive building year for us. We’re looking forward to keeping that momentum going into this season,” added Moore. “I’m not the reason for the success. It’s the girls – they have put in the work.”
Six freshmen suited up for the 2016-2017 varsity season with five returning as sophomores continuing to help build the resurgent program.
“I have four starters back on our varsity team,” Moore stated. “We are 7-8 strong so on any given night that starting rotation can change. I’ve told my girls from the beginning, it depends how you’re practicing and our mindset that’s going to determine our starting lineup. We’re trying to figure those things out now early on in the preseason.”
With a year of experience behind them, the young team, now a veteran squad opens the season with high expectations.
“We definitely have to fine-tune some things and we’re getting there,” said Moore. “We practice hard every day. We have high expectations – I think every single one of us feels like this is going to be a special year so we are working hard to prepare for that.”
“Quickness is going to be our strength. That is definitely going to be a big part of our game, running the floor and making teams work. I have a group of girls that likes to just get after it so I am going to let them do it. I’m not going to hold them back. I’m going to let them play. They showed me that they can do that in our first scrimmage.”
“Our aggressive tendency on defense is definitely going to be a strength of ours, but then that transfers to offense as well,” added Moore. “I see our hard work on defense translating into easy buckets on offense and hopefully that will be a big part of our game this year.”
The Lady Jets look to be competitive in an improving Cross County Conference (CCC).
“We have to be ready to go every game,” Moore stated. “Our conference is getting stronger and stronger and we are going to respect every opponent that we step on the floor against, but at the same time we look at our schedule and we’re going out every game wanting to win and expecting to win. It’s going to be a battle but we’re going to be ready for it.”
The Lady Jets softball program is coming off a season that saw the FM girls reach the Elite Eight in OHSAA tournament play and the FM volleyball team just complete a season that had the Lady Jets setting a new school record with a 20-win season.
“Anytime you get a taste for winning and developing that competitiveness it’s going to translate through every season,” Coach Moore said of team sports. “It’s going to translate to life and that’s the great thing about sports and why I do what I do. I really feel like I can help these kids not only on the basketball court but it translates after school when they are out of here. This year already we’ve had adversity, not necessarily on the court but in other aspects of our lives as well and these girls teach me things every day, I’m learning from them just as much as what they are learning from me.”
Coach Moore champions the importance of FM fans attending and supporting the school’s sporting events.
“That’s huge,” Moore said of fan game attendance. “I think we’re getting there. We’re trying to do some things here at school to get kids involved as well. We have great parent support here and that means a lot to the kids, seeing your parents there and supporting you. That does a lot for that relationship as well, so it’s going to be a fun year.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Franklin Monroe Lady Jets basketball coach Abbey Moore. (Gaylen Blosser photo)