NEW PARIS — National Trail couldn’t contain Chloe Peters in the final 16 minutes and paid the price.
The 5-foot-9 junior forward for Franklin-Monroe exploded for 17 second-half points on Thursday (Jan. 3) in leading the Lady Jets to a 51-26 win over Cross County Conference host National Trail. Peters was near perfect at the free throw line going 9-for-10 all in the second half. She missed her very first free throw attempt and then made nine straight.
National Trail fell to 7-6 overall and 2-4 in the CCC with the loss.
“That was a big game for Chloe,” Franklin-Monroe coach Abbey Moore said of Peters, who had a total of 19 points to lead all scorers in the game. “She is a kid that deserves it. She comes in and works hard everyday and I am so excited for her and happy for her. Hopefully this will give her confidence moving forward.”
With 32 seconds left in the, Peters made her final two free throws and came off the floor to some cheers from her teammates.
“That’s just our team,” Moore said. “To have a kid that works that hard, and her teammates know how hard she works so for her to have that moment it was special to all of them. It was a good moment for the team to show their appreciation for her.”
Peters wasn’t the only Jet to get hot in the second half. Junior guard Corina Conley scored 7 of her 12 points in the final two stanzas including her second 3-pointer of the game and then a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. As a team, the Lady Jets were 17-of-18 from the charity stripe. Belle Cable also was a perfect 4-of-4 in the game.
“Anytime you can get to the line and shoot free throws like that you are going to be successful,” Moore said. “We certainly took care of that aspect of the game today.”
The Jets got off to a slow start however getting down early 9-2 to the Lady Blazers, whose first three baskets were 3-pointers by Skyler Ward, Makena Laird and Savanna Abner.
“I wasn’t too concerned to start because we were getting good looks but they just weren’t falling,” Moore said. “Looking at our shot chart during the game we had a lot of red Xs and they were inside the paint so I knew our offense was working they just weren’t falling. I have complete faith in my girls and I know they continue to fight and those will eventually fall so I wasn’t too nervous.
“I told them in the locker room we needed to play our game,” she continued. “Defense is our game and I felt we had some very good defensive possessions and defensive stops in that third quarter that led to easy buckets for us on the offensive end and that allowed things to get rolling.”
What ailed the Lady Jets in the first half – shots not falling – seemed to be the downfall for National Trail in the second half. And it really began in the second quarter when the Blazers scored just 3 points.
“I thought our defense was really good in the first half,” National Trail coach James Byrd said. “Our activity level was good and I think they didn’t know what to run in the beginning and that slowed their offense down a little bit. But once they started making shots and getting into the defense they wanted too I thought that hurt us in the second half.
“What happened to them in the first half with shots not falling happened to us in the second half,” he continued. “They are a good team and I knew that coming in. I wanted us to get off to a good start and we did, but we weren’t able to sustain it. Against a good team, when they start making shots you have to be able to sustain your level of focus and energy and not let up and I thought we let up a little bit so that hurt us.”
In addition Peters with 19 points and Conley with 12, Belle Cable reached double figures with 11 points for Franklin-Monroe. National Trail was led by Makena Laird with 10 points. Evan Byrd added seven.
National Trail was schelued to play at Carlisle on Monday, Jan. 7 and will play at Mississinawa Valley on Thursday, Jan. 10. The Blazers will wrap up play this week by hosting Newton on Saturday.
Skip Weaver is the The Daily Advocate sports editor and can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.