PITSBURG – It’s hard to miss the Conley Family at Franklin Monroe boys and girls basketball games and Lady Jets volleyball matches.
Javan and Rebecca Whitt Conley are the parents of not only three athletic children, but the parents of three well rounded student athletes on and off the court.
Javan, a 1993 graduate of Findlay High School still holds the single game boys basketball scoring record (47-points) playing for the Trojans and went on to a successful basketball career at The University of Findlay.
Rebecca, a graduate of Champion High School near Warren, Ohio had a successful high school basketball career playing for the Champion Golden Flashes and went on to play four years at The University of Findlay, scoring 1,100 points in her college career from 1991-1994.
The youngest of the three siblings, Corina Conley, a junior has been a three year starter for a very good Lady Jets volleyball team as well as a three year starter for the girl’s varsity basketball team.
Ethan, the middle child, a standout varsity basketball player having recently signed to continue his education while playing basketball for the Ashland University Eagles, a team with a winning tradition currently stand at 10-0 and hold the No. 10 spot in the NABC Division II coaches pole.
The oldest, Mason, is a graduate of FM where he had a successful high school career for the Jets basketball team playing along-side younger brother Ethan for a season, now commutes to college from home.
Ethan, now playing his final season for the Jets not only set three records including a new high school boys basketball scoring record, slashing the previous high 44-points with a 54-points record breaking game including seven three pointers against Houston recently, also broke his father’s high school scoring mark of 47-points bringing lighthearted needling between the father and son.
“He said all the threes that I shot – they don’t count,” Ethan said of his father’s comments following the game. “He said he didn’t shoot any threes.”
“My high school record of 47 was back in ’93, my senior year and Ethan’s 54 tonight – I didn’t hit any threes, I didn’t shoot any threes, I wasn’t allowed to go out on the perimeter so you have to take 7-points away from his 54 so he just tied his old man’s record,” Javan said with a chuckle. “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”
“He said that he didn’t shoot any threes when he was playing,” Ethan added of his father’s remarks,” so I shot my threes and he says if you subtract all the threes that you had you wouldn’t be able to break my record – but I say as long as there is a three point line, those three pointers count so I get some bragging rights with the family over that.”
Ethan took time to talk about his family – siblings, parents and grandparents but not before sharing his Faith and early childhood struggles.
“I want to give thanks to God,” said Ethan. “Eight years old, 33 days in the hospital, almost lost my life, to think at a place now breaking the school record, breaking three school records. The doctors also said if I did live I wouldn’t have my legs so I just want to give everything I have whether it’s practice, a game – I really want to thank my parents for encouraging me as well as all my other family and I also want to thank my teammates.”
“My grandparents come to every single game (from Findlay) and they are super supportive,” Ethan said. “They don’t just do it for us, they do it for all the grandkids and there is a ton of grandkids.”
Lightheartedly, Ethan agreed he may have gotten more athletic ability from mom than his dad.
“Mom scored more than a thousand points in college. She was a baller,” Ethan said with a chuckle. “She was more of a scorer than my dad so we’ll give her the credit.”
“Dad was good player,” continued Ethan. “He played at the University of Findlay and at his high school he was very good. He had a lot of awards, got first team All-Conference and things like. He had a terrific senior year. He was a post player and he was a very good post player, so to be able to beat my dad’s record – it’s one of my lifetime goals.”
“Even after some of the games when Mason didn’t play well and I played well, he would put his ego aside and say you had a heck of a game and I’m super proud of you,” Ethan said of his older brother. “He’s been like that throughout my whole entire life, so he’s a big influential person in my life and I’m just thankful to have him around.”
“Corina is a great player and I am just super proud of her for all that she’s accomplished – it’s pretty remarkable.”
“I love our family,” added Ethan. “Everybody supports each other so it’s a close knit family. I am just super blessed to have Mason as my brother, mom, dad and Corina for a sister.”
Rebecca, mother to Mason, Ethan, Corina and wife to Javan shared her thoughts on family life in the Conley home.
“Before athleticism, they are wonderful children,” said Rebecca. “Their relationship with Christ is their best feature and each one of them are selfless. They are their sibling’s best cheerleaders. They just want the best for each other.”
“They are not jealous. I’m sure they deal with things in their own way but they are really not jealous of one another. They are really happy for one another so I feel very blessed. They have good hearts – they are goodhearted.”
“Family is everything,” continued Rebecca. “Jav and I both are from great amazing families. Our parents are still together 50-plus years. We’re just from a great linage and great stocks. I feel like that’s crucial for each generation to see that you just stick together and that’s what you do. You work through things, you stay together and you move forward and love one another, so we are very blessed.”
“Mason is the best big brother ever,” said Rebecca. “Both Ethan and Corina confide in him for most everything. He’s and excellent listener and communicator … he has great wisdom to share at his young age of 20. He does everything around his sibling – works his work schedule and school schedule so he can be at their games and functions. He’s the first to notice if someone is having a rough day and immediately picks them up, takes them to go get ice cream and gets them through it. He’s Mr. Dependable.”
“He treats Corina (and me) like a princess, complete gentleman,” concluded Rebecca. “His role (in our home) behind the scenes is as big and as important as all the accolades Ethan and Corina get. He’s gotten his share of them too. He’s super athletic. They are all hard workers. Family is everything. They have all learned at a young age and they do not take the gift of family or time for granted. We love unconditionally – Glory to God!
PHOTO CAPTION: (L-R) Javan, Rebecca, Ethan and Mason Conley at recent Franklin Monroe Lady Jets basketball game to watch Corina Conley in win over Bethel. (Gaylen Blosser photo)