When the ball is rolled out in sectional play, things tend to get a lot more intense and physical. That was certainly the case Friday night as Liberty Christian was able to “out-physical” host Monroe Central en route to a 54-49 victory in the Class A sectional.
Monroe Central battled the bigger Liberty Christian squad throughout, never falling behind by more than nine points and even had two chances late down by one and with the ball.
“This was just a game where we had a hard time of getting in sync offensively,” Monroe Central Coach Luke Zartman said.
Every time the Lions would spurt ahead, the Bears came right back and kept things close.
After falling behind by seven, the Bears battled back to within a point on two occasions late in the fourth. On the first, the Bears missed a chip shot in the lane that was rebounded by Liberty Christian. On the second, a missed three caromed into the wires on top of the board.
“We just didn’t give up tonight,” Zartman said.
Monroe Central was led by Jacob Combs with 18 points. Troy Starr added 12 points, 8 rebounds.
If it weren’t for a rough eight minutes of play, Wes-Del might be heading to the sectional final. But the Warriors couldn’t overcome a shaky second quarter in a 66-57 loss to Southern Wells.
Southern Wells built a 36-21 halftime advantage thanks to some solid shooting and good defense against the Warriors.
“It really boils down to a case of where we pride ourselves on defense, and we pride ourselves on fighting for loose balls and executing,” Wes-Del Coach Joel Roush said. “For some reason, we just didn’t do that in the first half.”
The Warriors started slicing the lead by pressuring the Raiders into 11 second-half turnovers and shutting down Raiders scoring threat Keaton Coleman, who had 21 points but was scoreless in the second half.
“He was a guy we keyed on going in,” Roush said. “We knew we need to get out on him, we didn’t, and when a young guy like that hits a few and gets going, then he is hard to stop.”
Justin Evans led the Warriors with 16 points while Trevor Delaney added 14 and Sam Paul had 10.
Levi Sherman had 25 points and 14 rebounds for Southern Wells.