High Gear Propels Monroe Over Madison

High gear propels Monroe over Madison

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Madison County’s Patrick Roebuck did everything he could to keep his team in it. He needed more help, especially in the third quarter. William Monroe established an early first quarter lead, drew it out a bit in the second, but Mountaineers made it a 5-point contest early in the third.

A 21-6 run from the Dragons from the middle of the third that extended into the fourth changed all of that. Monroe knocked down 3-pointers, buried its free throw and handled business on the glass to roll to a 74-49 win over Madison.

Monroe's Markel Wiliams finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

“That’s the best we’ve played as a team all year and against a very good Madison team,” said Dragons coach Mike Maynard. “We hit shots, we trusted each other and that was the most important part. They kept an eye on Markel Williams, which they should, and we showed tonight that we have others capable of stepping up and Markel still had a great game, just one forced shot. The game plan defensively worked — they’ve got good shooters, but we’ve got some pretty smart guards. It was just one of those nights I guess.”

Five different players reached double figures for Monroe with its guard combination of Jordan Gentry, Austin Batten, Lamar Nelson and Gary Morris all hitting their shots from long range while Williams and Markel Faulkner each getting the  job done inside.

“I’m just so proud of my team,” Williams said. “We played together so well as a whole team. It was big, having teammates like this is big.”

After building up a 16-9 lead midway through the first, Monroe had to deal with Roebuck who hit outside shots and also slashed inside to help Madison make it a 5-point game midway through the second quarter.

“That’s the third game in a row that he’s played big,” said Madison coach Ben Breeden. “I thought he did a great job of battling on defense and making things happen on offense, scoring some points. Points were hard to come by for us tonight.”

The Dragons rode their offensive balance to a 9-point halftime lead, but again the Mountaineers wouldn’t go away, cutting the game to a 5-point deficit early in the third. It was there that Monroe peeled off seven straight points highlighted by a Nelson 3-pointer. That run extended to the 21-6 spree with Williams and Faulkner hauling down defensive rebounds and pushing the ball up in transition to rile up what Maynard called “an unbelievable crowd.” Unlike in the first and second quarter, Madison could not find a way to stop Monroe offensively, much less turn the game into a shoot out.

“Every time we had a break down, they hit a shot there,” Breeden said. “It took the wind out of our sails and we never recovered.”

The Dragons completed the regular season sweep to keep within a game of the Bull Run’s first place team, George Mason.

“I was proud for our seniors to be able to win this — it’s such a big rivalry that means a lot to these players,” Maynard said. “We might see them again, but I’m happy our seniors finished up (the regular season rivalry) on top.”

Nelson and Gentry each hit a trio of 3-pointers to finish with 16 and 11 respective points. Williams scored 13 and had 10 rebounds. Faulkner had 12 points to go with his seven boards. Morris scored 13 on the night and had seven assists, including an impressive no-look behind the back helper to Faulker in the third.

“I just wanted to get penetration and make shots,” Morris said. “Once we got the adrenaline got going, we got going with the crowd, I think there was no coming back for (Madison).”

For Madison, Roebuck came up just one point shy of a career best, ending the night with 23 points. Travis Warren scored seven points while Matt Temple added eight. No other Mountaineer finished with more than one field goal or more than three points.

Madison (10-8, 6-3) hosts winless Rappahannock on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Monroe (12-6, 8-2) heads to Clarke County for a critical BR battle on Friday at 7:45 p.m.

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