The Monticello boys’ basketball team picked up two road wins this past week to improve its record to 3-0 on the quickly sprung season.
The Sages blew out Olympia last Tuesday but played a close one against Illinois Valley Central Friday night in Chillicothe.
Against Illinois Valley Central, after jumping up a handful of points, Monticello pushed back every run the Grey Ghosts made.
The first quarter was back and forth, and Monticello took an early short lead, but a couple Sage turnovers and blocked shots led the Grey Ghosts transitions baskets and cut the lead to 16-13 with 4:39 left in the second quarter.
The Sages kept the 3-6 point lead into the third quarter, but with 5:37 left in the third period, Illinois Valley Central again capitalized on a steal and transition bucket to close the gap to 32-21.
Monticello quickly extended and kept the lead back to 5-6 point until the fourth quarter.
With 6:38 left in the final period, Monticello’s lead was cut to three when a Grey Ghosts hit a long three from the wing. The Sages then lost the ball at half court, and Illinois Valley Central scored another transition basket with 6:23 left in the game to cut the lead to 36-35.
But the Sages again fought off the Grey Ghosts in the final minutes for the final 53-51 win.
The teams’ stats were extremely close but for one category: three-point percentage.
The Grey Ghosts 8 percent. The Sages shot 36 percent.
Junior guard Dylan Ginalick’s sharp shooting helped the Sages with that standout stat. Ginalick scored a team-high 18 points. He made 5-of-7 shots from the field, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
Senior guard Jake Edmondson followed in scoring with 14 points, and Ben Cresap dropped 10 points and gathered six of the Sages’ 29 team rebounds.
Last Tuesday, Monticello again found itself in a back-and-forth game with Olympia in the first half.
In the third quarter with the scored tide 21, the Spartans nailed a three pointer from the top of the key to take a 24-21 lead.
But from there, the Sages went on 27-7 run to close out the game for the eventual 51-28 win.
Cresap tallied a game-high 17 points to go with five rebounds and three assists.
Ginalick hit double-digit scoring with 15 points.
The Sages finished with 15 assists and 18 steals. Again, the team shot well from the field, though at well from the free throw line. The Sages shot 48 percent from the field, 35 percent from the three-point line, and 43 percent from the free throw line.
The two road wins improved the Sages overall record to 3-0 and 2-0 in the Illini Prairie Conference.