Arcanum eakes out close win over Holiday host Franklin-Monroe

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Arcanum 52, Franklin-Monroe 50
Franklin-Monroe and Arcanum High Schools are separated by just a few
miles, so regardless of the sport any meeting is a hot contest. That was certainly the case Friday as Arcanum pulled out a 52-50
victory over Franklin Monroe in the night cap of the Jet Holiday
Tournament. Arcanum’s Clint Hale led all scorers with 27 points and 6-foot-5 teammate Brenton Balsbaugh had 10 points and six rebounds.


PITSBURG – Franklin-Monroe and Arcanum High Schools are separated by just a few miles, so regardless of the sport any meeting is a hot contest.

That was certainly the case Friday as Arcanum pulled out a 52-50 victory over Franklin Monroe in the night cap of the Jet Holiday Tournament. The thrilling game ended a night of contests that went down to the buzzer.

For first year Arcanum coach Brian Gunter, this was his first experience with the tournament.

“This was a tremendous game in a great high school environment,” commented Gunter after the game.

The difference in the contest was Arcanum’s Clint Hale, who led all scorers with 27 points and 6’5” Brenton Balsbaugh, who had 10 points, six rebounds and controlled the paint for Gunter’s squad.

“We look for the high-low with Brenton and he made some big shots for us,” noted Gunther. “Clint also made some big shots by driving the lane and hitting some big throws.”

The gutsiest performance of the game came from FM’s Heath Kaufman who battled his way to 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

In stark contrast to the first game, this contest was run first, shoot second and pass only when forced too. Both squads were looking to get up and down the court and create havoc with a pressuring defense.

Overall both teams had success and both teams suffered through periods of offensive droughts, but it was Arcanum who held on for the victory.

“This was a total team effort for us,” noted Gunther. “When we get in transition we need to get a good look.”

From the opening tip off the two teams were off and running for the next 32 minutes; they only slowed down during time outs.

FM took a quick 3-0 advantage, but that quickly disappeared as Arcanum ripped off a 7-0 run, taking a 7-3 lead. After that the first period was a back and forth affair as neither team created much separation. When the buzzer stopped the track meet, the Trojans were up 12-10.

The second stanza was a mirror of the first one. Using the dribble penetration of Hale, the Trojans took an 18-12 lead, but again the Jets had an answer and it was mostly Kaufman. Battling inside the 6’4” Kaufman found some holes and converted a three point play, tying the game at 20-20.

That play spearheaded a 14-7 Jet run closing out the first half resulting in a 26-25 Franklin Monroe lead at the break.

After getting a few minutes of rest, the race was back on in the third period. The first spurt went to the Trojans as they continued attacking the lane with Hale. Now he started dropping off the ball to wide open teammates who converted the easy chances.

This led to a 34-28 Arcanum lead, but not surprisingly that too vanished. A 5-0 Jet run made it 37-35 Trojans, but Hale delivered one more punch before the bell. The senior guard drained a three ball with thirty-seven ticks remaining in the stanza. That made it 39-35 Trojans and that is how the period ended.

But the wild affair had just started and the final minutes were nothing short of heart stopping.

The Trojans held onto their advantage at the start, but that too would soon change. With 3:57 left in the game, FM’s Ty French nailed a three pointer, making it 44-43 Jets. At that point Balsbaugh started to take over the game at both ends. Swatting away would be Jet shots; he would then convert on the offensive end.

Even with that Arcanum could not create separation as FM stayed close. With 1:03 remaining FM’s Ethan Nealeigh swiped the ball and converted tying the game at 48-48.

The final push of the game came from Arcanum as the Trojans went on a 4-0 run, building a 52-48 lead. However, FM made another push when Bill Taylor hit a runner in the lane. But Arcanum was able hold on for the 52-50 victory and advance to the title game where they will face Tri-Village tonight following the Versailles-FM game.

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