Panthers' season lives up to 'Our Time' motto

Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

A capsule look at the Panther boys basketball season leading up to the state tournament:


Nov. 30 at Bellevue

Monticello 50,

Bellevue 44

     An improved Bellevue team gave Monticello a battle in the season opener, leading for most of the first half before the Panthers gained the lead in the second half. Four Panthers scored in double figures: Tate Petersen with 13 points, Preston Ries with 12, Peyton Schilling with 11 and Trey Kuper with 10.


Dec. 3 at Clarence

Monticello 76,

North Cedar 35

     Petersen poured in 29 points on 11-for-17 shooting as the Panthers moved to 2-0. Ries added 18. Monticello led 25-8 after one quarter, 44-19 at halftime.


Dec. 6 at Upper Iowa

University, Fayette

Monticello 59,

Waukon 43

     It was Ries’ turn to score 29 points, and he grabbed 11 rebounds, including nine on the offensive glass. The Panthers jumped to a 31-16 halftime lead. Petersen added 14 points.


Dec. 7 at MHS

Monticello 75,

West Liberty 34

     Monticello smothered West Liberty in the first half to take a 42-14 lead in the Panthers’ home opener. Ries had 25 points, shooting 8-for-12 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free throw line. Petersen added 19 points and seven assists, and Kuper had 14 points.


Dec. 8 at Wilton

Monticello 50,

Wilton 44

     In front of a boisterous crowd and a sizeable Wilton team, the Panthers rallied from a 32-27 deficit with 5:41 to go, outscoring the host Beavers 23-12 the rest of the way. Kuper hit a key three-point basket to put the Panthers ahead, and Caleb Sauser went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final three minutes.


Dec. 14 at Anamosa

Monticello 71,

Anamosa 60

     The Panthers raced out to a 45-25 halftime lead, then fought off Anamosa’s rallies to beat their neighboring rival. Petersen scored 25 points and had eight rebounds and six assists. Ries had 15 points. Kuper had nine points and 10 rebounds.


Dec. 17 at Tipton

Monticello 66,

Tipton 47

     Preston Ries scored 36 points, shooting 16-for-24 from the field. Petersen added 14 points. A 10-2 run for Monticello in the third quarter gave the Panthers a 19-point lead on the way to the victory.


Dec. 21 at MHS

Monticello 69,

Durant 42

     Playing in just their second home game of the season, the Panthers seized early control with a 22-9 first quarter. Petersen led the way with 23 points and seven assists. The win enabled Monticello to head into the holiday break with records of 7-0 in the River Valley Conference, 8-0 overall.


Jan. 4 at Goose Lake

Monticello 53,

Northeast 47

     Competing at a perennial “tough place to play,” as coach Tim Lambert said, the Panthers gradually inched to an 11-point fourth quarter lead. The Rebels closed to within five, but then Sauser sank three of four free throws in the final half-minute to close out the win. Schilling shot 5-for-6 from three-point range and led the team with 17 points.


Jan. 7 at MHS

Monticello 63,

Cascade 50

     An 18-8 fourth quarter salted this one away for the Panthers after Cascade had turned a nine-point halftime deficit into a three-point game after three periods. Petersen scored 27 points, Ries had 11, Sauser added 10, and Ian Temple scored eight.


Jan. 8 at Coe College,

Cedar Rapids

Monticello 63,

Iowa City Regina 51

     Once Monticello took a double-digit lead late in the third quarter, Regina could get no closer the rest of the way. The one-two punch of Ries (21 points) and Petersen (20 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, six steals) led the way. Kuper had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.


Jan. 11 at Camanche

Monticello 67,

Camanche 64

     Passing their biggest test of the season to this point, the Panthers got a career-high 30 points from Petersen and took over sole possession of the River Valley Conference North Division lead. With Monticello leading 66-64 and four seconds left, Camanche coach Josh Davis purposely called time-out despite not having any left, taking the technical foul in order to stop the clock. Petersen sank a free throw to make it a three-point lead, and a chance for the Storm at the line ended with a miss, and time ran out. Kuper had 16 points and eight rebounds.


Jan. 18 at MHS

Monticello 86,

North Cedar 43

     Any doubts about this one were settled when the Panthers outscored the Knights 27-8 in the second quarter to take a 49-23 halftime lead. Petersen totaled 29 points, Ries had 18, Kuper added 16 and Schilling had 10.


Jan. 21 at MHS

Monticello 73,

West Branch 43

     A KCRG 9.2 television audience got to see one of the best regular season performances of Monticello’s season, as the Panthers hammered a solid West Branch team. The Panthers hit 11 three-point baskets as they led by 13 after one quarter, 16 at halftime and 25 after three quarters. Petersen had 16 points and nine assists. Schilling added 12 points. After the win, Monticello moved up in the Associated Press rankings to be No. 1 in Class 2A.


Jan. 24 at MHS

Monticello 56,

Bellevue 43

     Ries hit a big three-point shot in the third quarter to give Monticello a nine-point lead, and Bellevue never got closer than eight points down the rest of the way. Ries had 24 points, Petersen had 13 and Kuper had 10. Schilling had a strong overall game with four points, seven steals and four assists.


Jan. 27 at MHS

Monticello 55,

Anamosa 42

     Monticello completed its season sweep of the rival Blue Raiders, but not without some tense moments. Down by eight, Anamosa went on a 7-0 run to pull to within one point with 3:44 to play. The Panthers then made a 13-0 run of their own to regain control. Petersen scored 23 points, and Ries had 22. Kuper grabbed nine rebounds.


Jan. 29 at Fulton, Ill.

East Dubuque 63,

Monticello 51

     The Panthers traveled to Illinois to play in the Fulton Shootout, and ran into a tough East Dubuque (Ill.) team that handed them their first loss. The loss ended a 44-game regular season winning streak for the Panthers that had lasted over parts of three seasons.


Feb. 1 at MHS

Northeast 51,

Monticello 45

     A rare second-straight loss dropped the Panthers to 16-2 on the season, as the Rebels made a five-point lead in the last two minutes stand. Northeast outrebounded the Panthers 32-20.


Feb. 4 at Cascade

Monticello 47,

Cascade 37

     Monticello held Cascade to 16 first half points while building a 10-point lead, and maintained that margin in the second half to end a two-game losing streak and keep a one-game lead in the North Division standings. Ries led the team with 21 points.


Feb. 8 at MHS

Monticello 53,

Camanche 40

     Monticello posted its fourth consecutive win over Camanche over two seasons, and in so doing, wrapped up a third straight RVC North Division championship. The Panthers trailed 16-10 after one quarter but outscored the Storm 43-24 the rest of the way. Ries was dominant, with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Petersen added 15 points.


Feb. 11 at Wellman

Mid-Prairie 65,

Monticello 50

     Facing an undefeated Mid-Prairie team and the loudest opposing crowd of the season, Monticello was outscored 34-20 in the middle two quarters in its third loss of the season. The Panthers got within 10 points on four different occasions in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t close the gap further. Monticello ended its regular season with an 18-3 record.


Feb. 17 at MHS

Class 2A District


Monticello 54,

Waukon 53

     Tate Petersen’s two free throws with 1.0 seconds to go were the difference as the Panthers opened the post-season with a narrow win. Waukon had a chance to steal the game back after a football-style pass found an open shooter near the Panther basket, but the shot at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim. Monticello trailed 26-18 at halftime, but rallied to within three points after three quarters, and got within one point before Petersen went to the line. Petersen finished 7-for-8 from the line.


Feb. 22 at Manchester

Class 2A District Final

Monticello 60,

MFL MarMac 42

     Leading 27-25 at halftime, the Panthers took control in the second half to advance to the substate final. A 7-0 run midway through the third quarter gave Monticello a 42-32 lead, and the Panthers pulled away further by going 11-for-14 from the free throw line in the final four minutes. Ries had a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds.


Feb. 26 at

C.R. Kennedy

Class 2A

Substate Final

Monticello 50,

Williamsburg 43

     Monticello’s strong defense, outside shooting and outstanding free throw shooting were the difference as the Panthers won and advanced to State for the third straight year. Petersen scored 18 points and went 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute. Ries had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Peyton Schilling and Ian Temple each sank a pair of three-pointers and finished with six points apiece.

     The Panthers advanced to State with a 21-3 record. 



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