Monticello rallied from a 13-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to take a 1-point lead with three minutes remaining, but a couple mistakes and a travel call on the potential game-tying basket ended the Sages’ hopes in a 52-50 road loss to Paxton-Buckley-Loda on Friday.
Andrew Rudolph’s tying shot was waved off on a traveling call with less than 3 seconds left. The call came on the second-to-last possession of the game following the Panthers’ Trey VanWinkle’s two made free throws with 11 seconds left to give the home team the lead again.
Monticello outscored PBL 18-7 in the final quarter after the Panthers’ opened a big lead by outscoring the Sages by 15 points in the third.
“We got down so we had to try to speed the game up,” Monticello coach Kevin Roy said. “The one way you can do it is to get defensive stops so we can get into transition and they can’t get their press set up. That really sparked us and we continued to thrive off of that.
“We got down so we had to try to speed the game up. The one way you can do it is to get defensive stops so we can get into transition and they can’t get their press set up. That really sparked us and we continued to thrive off of that.”
Garrett Kepley scored a team-high 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Sages, while Briggs Fultz contributed a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds to go along with three blocks. Ethan Miller (eight points) and Ryan Reeder (seven points) also contributed.
Colton Coy scored a game-high 17 points for the Panthers and Van Winkle added 12 points to lead PBL. Sam Penicook and Dalton Busboom each added seven points.
The Panthers’ fullcourt press and trapping zone defense slowed the Sages’ offense and led to 19 Monticello turnovers, leading to a 15-4 points-off-turnovers advantage.
“They do a great job of playing passing lanes, getting tips on passes. They really slow you down,” Roy said. “If they’re able to score, it slows you down on getting the ball down the court. And then they go so deep on the bench. They just continue to replace those guards. You can’t really tell they sub, they just keep coming at you. I thought we handled it well. There were some moments in the first half where we weren’t real solid with the ball. But, for the most part, we did a nice job with it. When we got defensive stops we were able to get out in transition.”
PBL also held an advantage from the free throw line, attempting nine more shots than Monticello (making four). The Sages also shot 53 percent from the field compared to PBL’s 38 percent, but the Panthers sank four more three-pointers.
In all, good experience against a good team that Roy hopes will pay off in pressure situations come postseason play.
“That’s what you hope to take away from these games: the experience and eliminating mistakes and playing for 32 minutes,” he said. “That focus starts from the tip and not just down to the last three minutes or four minutes – it’s gotta be all the way through.”
Tuesday, Jan. 12
Monticello 56, Clinton 18: Monticello held Clinton to two points in each of the first two quarters and just one in the fourth, as the Sages cruised to their big nonconference victory. Ethan Miller led the way for Monticello with a game-high 16 points to go with five steals, three rebounds and two assists. Briggs Fultz added 12 points and eight rebounds in the win. Zeke Hickman hit 3 of 6 three-pointers and paced Clinton with 14 points, as the Maroons dropped their seventh straight game.