Big wins overshadow Panthers' losses to ranked teams this season

Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     A glance at Monticello’s 19-5 record could cause the Panthers to be overlooked when the State Girls Basketball Tournament begins next week.

     But a closer look indicates that record is a bit deceiving. All of the five losses were to teams that ended the season in the state rankings, including two to Cascade (sixth in Class 2A), and single losses to Camanche (12th in 3A), Iowa City Regina (seventh in 2A), and North Linn (first in 2A).

     Monticello also had big wins, avenging the loss to Camanche, scoring overtime wins over West Branch and Anamosa, and routing previously unbeaten Osage (fourth in 3A) in the regional final.   

     The Panthers also are on a roll; since the loss to North Linn Jan. 6, they are 11-1.

     Here’s a game-by-game look at the season so far:


     Nov. 21 at MHS: Monticello 46, Bellevue 42. A 15-2 run in final 4:24 erased a 40-31 deficit and gave the Panthers a season-opening win.

     Nov. 28 at MHS: Monticello 61, Northeast 43. Lauren Ries scored 22 points, and the Panthers jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter.

     Dec. 1 at MHS: Monticello 65, West Branch 58 (overtime). West Branch had a 19-8 scoring edge in the fourth quarter to send the game into an extra session, but the Panthers responded.

     Dec. 2 at Midland: Monticello 52, Midland 37. Monticello gradually pulled away against an improved neighboring rival.

     Dec. 5 at Camanche: Camanche 57, Monticello 40. Camanche took a 16-6 first quarter lead, and led by 17 by the end of the third quarter in Monticello’s first loss of the season.

     Dec. 8 at MHS: Monticello 48, North Cedar 29. Monticello led 24-7 at halftime, saw the margin slip to five points in the third quarter, but controlled the rest of the game.

     Dec. 9 at MHS: Monticello 64, Anamosa 60 (overtime). The Panthers scored their second overtime win of the season as Ries had 26 points.

     Dec. 12 at MHS: Regina 59, Monticello 33. Regina, ranked sixth at the time, took an 18-5 first quarter lead and controlled the game throughout.

     Dec. 15 at Cascade: Cascade 50, Monticello 46. Cascade scored the last four points in a back-and-forth game between the conference rivals.

     Jan. 2 at Bellevue: Monticello 66, Bellevue 48. Taylor McDonald’s 29 points helped the Panthers come back strong from the holiday break.

     Jan. 5 at Wilton: Monticello 83, Wilton 74. Ries had 27 points and Taylor McDonald added 20, while the team totaled 27 assists.

     Jan. 6 at MHS: North Linn 68, Monticello 58. Double-doubles by Jordan Kuper and Ries weren’t enough to overcome the top-ranked Class 2A team.

     Jan. 12 at Northeast: Monticello 64, Northeast 36. Trailing 14-12 after one quarter, the Panthers outscored Northeast 46-13 over the next two periods to take charge.

     Jan. 13 at MHS: Monticello 64, West Liberty 30. This one was settled early; the Panthers led 23-3 after one quarter and 41-4 at the half.

     Jan. 16 vs. Camanche: Monticello 54, Camanche 50. Two free throws by Maddie Fellinger with 10.4 seconds to play helped seal this one.

     Jan. 19 at Mid-Prairie: Monticello 71, Mid-Prairie 52. A 44-20 second half scoring advantage tilted this game the Panthers’ way.

     Jan. 23 at North Cedar: Monticello 58, North Cedar 57. Jordan Kuper’s two free throws with 0.8 of a second left were the deciding points.

     Jan. 25 at Maquoketa Valley: Monticello 70, Maquoketa Valley 61. The Panthers trailed hot-shooting Maquoketa Valley 34-26 at halftime, but went on a 29-10 run to gain control.

     Jan. 26 at MHS – Monticello 64, Durant 22. On Senior Night, Monticello collected 26 steals, and led 50-18 after three quarters.

     Jan. 30 at MHS: Cascade 50, Monticello 36. Monticello’s seven-game winning streak ended as Cascade opened the third quarter on a 12-3 run to take a 13-point lead.

     Feb. 2 at Tipton: Monticello 53, Tipton 31. Taylor McDonald reached the 1,000 career point mark, and the Panthers outscored the Tigers 24-10 over the middle two quarters.



     Feb. 10 at MHS: Monticello 73, Solon 46. Monticello opened the postseason by outscoring Solon 22-5 in the third quarter to take a 22-point lead.

     Feb. 14 at MHS: Monticello 62, Vinton-Shellsburg 27. The Panthers made the most of their final home game of the season, advancing to the regional finals by winning each quarter.

     Feb. 17 at Independence: Monticello 59, Osage 33. A 28-0 run from the early third quarter to the early fourth turned a 25-23 deficit into a 51-25 lead, and Monticello wrapped up a trip to the state tournament.




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