JUNIOR HIGH SPORTS
Girls Semi-Final sectional Basketball 2/8/13
February 10, 2013Monroe Central Jr.- Sr. High School
Written by Ben Breiner of The Staar Press--PONETO, IND. — When the scoreboard malfunctioned midway through the fourth quarter Friday and the clock suddenly read all zeros, Monroe Central girls basketball coach Jeff Tharp looked up to see his team ahead, raised both arms in a mock celebration of victory and turned to the crowd wearing a wide grin.
If only it was that easy.
Instead, the Bears had to weather the last gasp of Daleville’s dream season before holding on for a 41-30 sectional semifinal upset victory at the Raiderdome on the campus of Southern Wells. Monroe Central (7-14) watched a one-time 12-point lead get whittled down to five, with several long stretches when the Broncos (15-7) threatened to make it a one-possession game.
But the Bears hit their free throws in the closing moments, with Lexi Hosier connecting on 5 of 6 in the last 32 seconds. They moved on to the sectional final tonight against host Southern Wells, which breezed past Cowan 68-13.
“In the sectional, we play our best basketball,” Tharp said, noting his squad often struggled late in tight games. “We’ve talked about our record being a little bit deceiving. We’ve lost eight games by less than eight points.”
His team overturned that trend with a diamond zone press to open the game that seemed to throw off the Daleville offense. The Broncos shot 11-for-44 from the field, while scoring only three points in thefirst quarter and four in the third.
The teams had met two weeks earlier, with Daleville eking out a 30-27 victory, and the
Bears took some lessons from that game.
“We focused more on the players, who were the shooters, who we’re supposed to guard, stuff like that, more focus,” said Monroe Central senior guard Kalle Gaddis, who had two points and five rebounds and went down with an extremely painful-looking right knee injury late in the fourth quarter.
Monroe Central also switched from a man press in the first meeting to the diamond, and although it didn’t force that many turnovers, Tharp said the goal was to contain what the Broncos did well and counter Daleville coach Jeff Wickersham’s adjustments.
Emmarae Roberts led the Golden Bears in scoring with 11 points.
After the game, Wickersham had a hoarse voice and was clearly emotional as he lamented his team’s inability to connect some of the better looks it got. The loss brought an end to a season in which the Broncos bettered their school record for victories by five games, but they fell short of repeating last year’s trip to the sectional final.
“It’s difficult, especially with the four seniors playing their last game,” Wickersham said. “Effort was all there. Can’t take away everybody’s effort.
“Just disappointed we couldn’t get where we wanted to.”