CLARKSVILLE, Mo. — The Monroe City boys basketball team extended its domination of the Clopton Tournament, winning the title for the fourth straight season with a 59-47 victory over Winfield on Saturday evening.
“It feels great,” said Monroe City junior guard Joshua Talton. “It’s just a great tournament. To win any tournament is just awesome.”
Talton scored 25 points and grabbed four rebounds in the Panthers victory. He finished with 63 total points and 14 total rebounds in three games of the tournament, earning MVP honors along the way. Senior forward Logan Buhlig was also named to the all-tournament team.
It was the second straight Clopton Tournament MVP for Talton.
“(Talton) is just a really good player,” said Monroe City head coach Brock Edris. “He’s really deserving of that honor. He had a good week and we are proud of all of our guys.”
The 12 point win wasn’t a cakewalk the whole way. The Panthers found themselves down 10-2 midway through the first quarter after a couple of 3-pointers by Winfield senior Nolan Riechers.
Edris called a timeout and made some adjustments, and his team listened.
“We gave up 18 points in that first quarter and that’s a lot for high school basketball in general,” Edris said. “Then to hold the Winfield team to just five points in the second quarter to go into halftime up 10 made a big difference.”
After ending the first quarter down by three points, Monroe City outscored Winfield 18-5 in the second quarter. Part of that heightened defensive effort came from Monroe City switching to a 1-3-1 zone.
“They were hurting us with some flare screens and their point guard is really savvy at curling and getting to the rim,” Edris said. “We just had to change the momentum of the game. Being able to run a defense like a 1-3-1 with the length of a Logan Buhlig up top, really makes people hit the brakes and slow down.”
Talton took advantage of fouls in the first half, going 7 for 9 from the free throw line and scoring 19 of his 25 points in the first half. The threes started falling at the end of the first half, too, with junior guard Josiah Talton and Buhlig both nailing triples at the end of the second quarter.
Winfield played tough defense on Monroe City throughout the game, even after they lost the lead.
“They are a very good defensive team,” Joshua Talton said. “(Winfield) played against bigger schools than most teams, and gave us a good battle on the defensive side.”
Monroe City set a tournament record for fewest points allowed in three games, with the Panthers holding their opponents to just 89 points.