Northeast makes early lead stand

Alex Nealson of Monticello (21) collides with a Northeast player Jan. 12 in Goose Lake. At right is Jacob Manternach of the Panthers. (Photos courtesy of Ross Eberhart, DeWitt Observer)

Connor Lambert of the Panthers fires from long range against Northeast.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Having a light week during a grueling season can be a good thing. It’s better, of course, if you win.

     It didn’t work out that way for the Monticello High School boys basketball team, which played at Northeast of Goose Lake Friday, Jan. 12 and lost 62-56.

     But there were a lot of positives that came out of the game for the Panthers (4-5, 6-6) despite the loss.

     “I thought our kids played incredibly hard,” Monticello coach Tim Lambert said. “They battled. It was a great effort on the road.

     “Since Christmas, we haven’t won them all, but we’ve played hard in all the games.”

     The Panthers fell behind early and spent the rest of the game trying to catch up. The Rebels led 19-12 after one quarter, and 31-23 at halftime.

     Monticello trimmed the margin to three points and had the ball with exactly one minute to play, but was assessed a five-second call on an in-bounds play.

     The Panthers then had to foul, and the Rebels made enough free throws in the last minute to secure the six-point win.

     Alex Nealson led Monticello with 16 points and seven rebounds. Kyle Sperfslage was 3-for-6 from three-point range and finished with 15 points and four assists. Avery Martensen, who has battled an ankle injury for much of the season, returned and scored 10 points.

     Jacob Manternach had seven points, and led the team in rebounds with eight and in assists with seven. Connor Lambert came off the bench to hit a pair of three-point shots, and totaled six points. Ryan Manternach made two steals.

     Coming off a three-game week the previous week, Lambert said it was nice to have just the single game last week.

     “We’ve had so many ankle injuries, it’s nice to have a couple of light days,” the coach said. “We had a couple days where we could focus on our skill work.”


Feb. 12

Monti  12 11 13 20 – 56

N’east 19 12 13 18 – 62

     MONTICELLO (56) – Jacob Manternach 3-9 1-2 7, Avery Martensen 3-9 2-2 10, Alex Nealson 7-10 2-4 16, Kyle Sperfslage 4-9 4-4 15, Ryan Manternach 1-1 0-2 2, Connor Lambert 2-3 0-0 6, Tyler Luensman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-41 9-14 56.

     NORTHEAST (62) – Braeden Hoyer 2-5 4-9 8, Collin Swanton 1-6 2-2 4, Trey McAleer 3-8 0-0 7, Dawson Stoll 5-13 0-0 12, Luke Empen 7-10 8-8 22, Dakota Stevenson 3-4 0-0 9.

     Three-pointers: Sperfslage 3, Martensen 2, C. Lambert 2; Stevenson 3, Stoll 2, McAleer 1.

     Rebounds: Northeast 29, Monticello 24 (J. Manternach 8, A. Nealson 7, Martensen 6).




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