Prep Boys Basketball

Monroe City wins first district title in 22 years

Monroe City guard Zacharee Osborn draws a foul on Hallsville's Malachi Jackson as Osborn drives to the basket in second-half action of their Class 3 District 8 championship game Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at Palmyra High School in Palmyra, Mo. | H-W Photo/Phil Carlson
Phil Carlson 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 25, 2017 12:01 am Updated: Feb. 25, 2017 11:55 pm

PALMYRA, Mo. -- It took 22 years, but the Monroe City boys basketball team can finally call itself a district champion again.

Monroe City had four players score in double figures and held Hallsville's leading scorer to just eight points to capture the Class 3 District 8 championship for the first time since 1995 with a 61-58 victory on Saturday afternoon.

"I was pretty emotional after the game," said Monroe City coach Brock Edris, who guided the Panthers to a 7-19 record in his first season five years ago. "It's taken a while to get here."

The Panthers (24-3) will play Montgomery County (25-2) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the sectional at Moberly Area Community College. Montgomery County defeated O'Fallon Christian 62-54 to win the District 7 championship.

Leading 28-27 at halftime, the Panthers talked during the break about two things they needed to do better. One was to get the ball inside, and the other was to make sure they knew where the Indians' Graham Moser was. The junior forward scored 14 points in the first half.

"Moser was beating us off the bounce quite a bit in the first half, so we had to make sure we knew where he was," Edris said.

The halftime adjustment worked. Moser didn't attempt a shot in the third quarter and finished with 18 points. Monroe City also held Hallsville's leading scorer, Ethan Thompson to eight points, about 12 below his average.

While the defense clamped down, the offense went to work. Jordan Bichsel and C.E. Talton opened the half with back-to-back 3-pointers to give Monroe City a 36-31 lead. The Panthers eventually pushed the lead to 44-35, but a 5-0 run allowed Hallsville (21-7) to cut into the lead with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter

Monroe City answered with six straight points, all coming from inside the paint, to lead 51-40 after three. Michael Speaks and Logan Minter combined for 12 points in the quarter.

"We really wanted to get to the basket," said Minter, who also scored his 1,000th career point in the game.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore Luke Hicks, coupled with five Panthers turnovers, allowed Hallsville to cut into the deficit. Hallsville got within 54-52 with 2:20 left.

"We talked during the timeouts about needing to take care of the ball, but for some reason we struggled with it," Edris said.

Blake Hays scored after a timeout to push the lead to four, and Talton iced the game by making 5 of 6 free throws in the last 90 seconds. Talton finished with 17 points, Speaks added 16 and Minter had 15.

"C.E. made some big free throws down the stretch, and Jordan had a great game in the post," Edris said.

The victory gives the Panthers the second-best record in school history.

"We still have a chance to get the best record ever," Minter said. "We get along really well, and Mike, Jordan and I have played together for years. The younger guys fit in very well."

Monroe City 61, Hallsville 58

HALLSVILLE (21-7)

Bartlett 0-0 0-0 0, Beatty 1-5 0-0 2, Blakemore 1-2 0-0 2, Hendren 2-4 0-0 4, Hicks 5-14 0-1 13, Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Moser 9-14 2-2 20, Thompson 3-13 2-2 8, Wilmer 3-9 2-2 9. Totals 24-61 6-7 58.

MONROE CITY (24-3)

Bichsel 4-9 0-1 10, Greiman 0-0 0-0 0, Hays 1-3 0-1 2, Minter 8-8 2-2 15, Osborne 0-4 1-2 1, Speaks 6-11 4-6 16, Talton 4-10 7-10 17. Totals 21-47 14-22 61.

Hallsville 13 14 13 18--58

Monroe City 15 13 23 10--61

3-point field goals Hallsville 4-26 (Beatty 0-3, Hicks 3-7, Moser 0-1, Thompson 0-9, Wilmer 1-6), Monroe City 5-16 (Bichsel 2-6, Hays 0-1, Minter 1-2, Osborn 0-1, Talton 2-6). Total Fouls Hallsville 12, Monroe City 12. Fouled Out None.