Team, bench, crowd revel in Panther win over Rebels

The Panther bench erupts as Monticello closes out the win over Northeast Dec. 18. From left are Mason Kraus, Daltyn Kramer, Ty Kehoe, Gavin Cooper, Jeff Carlson, head coach Tim Lambert and Brayden Cleeton. (Photo by Pete Temple)
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     It took a team effort, and not just from the players on the floor, for the Monticello High School boys basketball team to pull away to a 55-47 home win over the Northeast Rebels of Goose Lake Dec. 18.

     “We’ve had great crowds,” Monticello coach Tim Lambert said. “And it helps when our bench kids are so involved in what’s going on. They’re genuinely happy, because they’re putting the team first.”

     They had much to cheer about Tuesday, from a Panther team that shot extremely well, outrebounded Northeast 23-18, and made big shots and big plays at significant times.

     Monticello shot 19-for-39 from the field, or 48.7 percent. Much of that was due to Justin Recker, who was 8-for-12 from the field; and Connor Lambert, who was 4-for-8 from three-point range and 5-for-10 overall.

     Monticello fell behind early in this one, as it has in a few recent games, although not by much. Northeast led 15-11 after one quarter, and the Panthers worked it back to a tie, 21-21, in the closing seconds of the first half.

     Connor Lambert then sank a three-pointer with four seconds left, sending an enthusiastic Panther student section and bench into loud roars, and sending the team to the locker room with a 24-21 lead.

     Northeast regained the lead, 32-31, midway through the third quarter, but Connor Lambert answered with a pair of threes, sandwiching another Rebel score, as Monticello went up 37-34 with 1:40 left in the period.

     “Connor knocked down some big shots,” the coach said.

     A lay-up by Jeff Carlson made it 39-34, and that score held until the end of the quarter.

     The Rebels trailed by four with 2:59 to go, before Monticello extended it to eight on a pair of baskets from Recker, one from in close and the other off a pass from Luke Lambert.

     After Northeast made a pair of free throws to make the score 48-42 with 1:35 left, Recker found Luke Lambert with a backdoor, behind-the-back pass for a lay-up, which turned into a three-point play, again bringing a roar from the home crowd and bench.

     “Justin is getting more confident at the high post,” coach Lambert said. “He had some high-level plays from there.”

     Luke Lambert’s free throw made it a nine-point game, 51-42, with 1:19 to play.

     A pair of Panther turnovers enabled Northeast to pull to within five with 28 seconds left, but Luke Lambert sank three of four free throws – getting a key rebound as well – in the closing seconds.

     Recker finished with 20 points, Connor Lambert had 15, and Luke Lambert added 10. Recker also had seven assists, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals to lead the team in those categories as well. Luke Lambert had six assists. Carlson had five rebounds.

     “We really challenged Jeff Carlson and Brayden Cleeton in practice (last week), and they really delivered,” coach Lambert said. “We got great minutes out of them.”


Dec. 18

N’east  15    6 13 13 – 47

Monti   11 13 15 16 – 55

     NORTHEAST (47) – Braeden Hoyer 3-6 2-4 8, Grant Rickertsen 5-9 2-2 16, Trey McAleer 3-7 1-2 7, Connor Petersen 1-2 0-1 2, Dawson Stoll 3-8 0-0 7, Dawson Rickords 2-5 0-0 5, Dakota Stevenson 0-4 2-2 2, Judd Swanton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-41 7-11 47.

     MONTICELLO (55) – Tyler Luensman 1-4 1-2 4, Justin Recker 8-124-5 20, Luke Lambert 2-5 5-7 10, Connor Lambert 5-10 1-2 15, Brayden Cleeton 1-2 0-0 2, Jeff Carlson 2-5 0-0 4, Devin Kraus 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-39 11-16 55.

     Three-pointers: Rickertsen 4, Stoll, Rickords; C. Lambert 4, Luensman, L. Lambert.

     Rebounds: Monticello 23 (Recker 6, Carlson 5), Northeast 18.

     Total fouls: Northeast 15, Monticello 9.


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