Boys Varsity BB Sectional Championship 3/8/14
March 9, 2014Monroe Central Jr.- Sr. High School
By Mike Bennett of the Star Press:
PARKER CITY — Monroe Central had a strong glimpse at a boys basketball sectional title, especially in a first half that saw six three-pointers fall.
But Liberty Christian proved to be too quick and too opportunistic on Saturday night. The result was the Lions’ third-consecutive title, 64-52, in the Class A sectional at Monroe Central.
The game was more closely played than the score appeared.
The Lions ratcheted up their defense in the second half of the game, especially in pressuring the perimeter of Monroe Central’s offense.
“We knew we had to pick up defensively,” said Franklin Nunn, who led Liberty Christian with 19 points and 10 rebounds. “We wanted to force them to drive more.”
That they did to good success and the Golden Bears had trouble mounting a strong inside game. They also hit only five of 11 free throws, while Liberty Christian hit 19 of 27.
The Golden Bears made nine treys in finishing the season at 15-9. Liberty Christian had just three treys, but made many close-in shot. They rose to 18-6.
Nunn led the Lions back with a third-quarter surge that put them ahead for the first time. They had trailed since Jacob Combs opened the scoring with a 3-point shot, his first of five for the game.
“I saw the first one go in and was in the groove after that,” Combs said. “We put it all out there tonight. I didn’t see it as unfortunate that we lost to them for the third straight time in the sectional. I looked at it as a good challenge.”
The senior led the Golden Bears with 21 points. Jentry Flesher added seven, while Chase Bly, Bracken Barga and Jansen Blevins added six apiece.
A series of plays by Nunn helped drive the Lions into the lead and into the regional. He blocked a layup attempt by Monroe Central, which would have provided a 36-30 lead.
“It was a great defensive play,” said Monroe Central coach Tom Byrum.”
Nunn then exploded for a field goal off an inbounds pass and then made a free throw after a field goal for 35-34 lead with 3:06 left in the third.
The Lions pulled ahead after that. They were aided by seven Golden Bears fouls before halfway through the third period. “They are a solid team without any weaknesses,” Combs said. “That was a big difference, taking so many more foul shots.”
Combs had made the biggest difference in pushing Monroe Central to a 13-6 lead after one quarter and 27-23 at halftime.
He made four firsthalf treys and Bracken Barga two.
Inside player Preston Quinn scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Lions. Chris Nunn added 13 points and Vincent Phillips 11.
Byrum said his team wasn’t looking for a moral victory against a very good team.
“I wouldn’t trade teams. They were just better than us (tonight),” he said. “We knew we could beat them.”
Franklin Nunn said the tough game helps get the Lions ready for the next step after three sectional titles in a row. “We are ready to get past regionals.”
Jake Combs said “They are a solid team without any weaknesses. That was a big difference, taking so many more foul shots.”
MONROE CENTRAL SECTIONAL
Liberty Christian 64, Monroe Central 52
At Parker City
Liberty Christian: F. Nunn 6-11 7-7 19, C.
Nunn 3-8 7-10 13, Quinn 5-14 4-7 15, Bowen
2-5 0-0 6, Hyatt 0-3 0-0 0, Phillips 5-9 1-3 11.
Totals: 21-50 19-27 64.
Monroe Central: Barga 2-6 0-0 6, Combs 7-
14 2-3 21, Bly 1-5 3-4 6, Flesher 3-8 0-0 7,
Woolf 2-5 0-3 4,Reum 0-1 0-0 0,Drummer1-2
0-0 2, Blevins 3-7 0-1 6. Totals: 19-48 5-11 52.
Score by quarters
Monr. Cent. 13 14 13 12 — 52
Lib.Christian 6 1 7 20 21 — 64
Three-point field goals: Monroe Central 9
(Combs 5, Flesher 1, Bly 1, Barga 2); Libery
Christian 3 (Quinn 1, Bowen 2). Rebounds: Monroe Central 2 (Woolf 6, Barga 6); Liberty Christian 35 (Quinn 10, F. Nunn 10). Turn-
overs: Monroe Central 14; Liberty Christian
11. Fouls: Monroe Central 19, Liberty Chris-
tian 13. Fouled out: None.
Monroe Central (15-9) season ends.