Fourth-quarter run lifts Tipton over MHS in district tourney

Justin Recker (3) takes the ball to the basket for Monticello in the district semifinal game Feb. 14 in Monticello. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Devin Kraus of the Panthers finds room to drive the lane against Tipton.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Going into the Class 2A, District 6 boys basketball semifinal game against Tipton, the Monticello Panthers knew they would be in for a battle.

     Monticello had beaten Tipton back in December but only by a 60-57 score.

     What the Panthers couldn’t have known was that the Tigers would go on an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter, turning a 46-39 deficit into a 50-46 lead, before finishing with a 54-49 win that ended Monticello’s season Thursday, Feb. 14 at Monticello High School.

     “There have been a lot of games in which we have found a way to hang on, but this time we didn’t,” Monticello coach Tim Lambert said.

     “I wouldn’t say we played poorly. We had five turnovers for the whole game, and we shot just under 50 percent (from the field, 19-for-40, or 48 percent). We just lost their best players too many times in the fourth quarter.”

     The teams traded leads in the first half. Tipton took a 14-12 lead after one quarter, and the Panthers rallied to jump ahead 28-25 by halftime.

     Things were looking good for the Panthers when Justin Recker hit a 12-foot shot with one second to play in the third quarter, giving Monticello a 36-29 lead with eight minutes to play.

     Tipton briefly cut the margin to four, but a basket by Recker and a layup by Jeff Carlson off a pass from Recker opened the lead to eight, 44-36, with 4:48 to play.

     The Tigers cut it to five, and a basket by Recker made it 46-39 with 4:16 to play.

     “Tipton had been playing well. They had played Camanche (Feb. 7) and lost by two,” coach Lambert said. “So to have that lead, we were really happy.”

     Unfortunately for the Panthers, that was when Tipton turned the game around. Frank Bierman made a basket with four minutes left, and with 3:19 to play, Andrew Stewart was fouled on a three-point shot, and sank all three free throws.

     Stewart followed with a three-pointer that put Tipton ahead for the first time in the second half, 47-46, with 2:44 to play.

     Another three-pointer, this one from Luke Becker, gave the Tigers a four-point lead with 2:03 to go.

     Monticello closed to within one on a free throw by Carlson and a layup by Recker, the latter with 14 seconds left, leaving Tipton with a 50-49 lead.

     After a free throw by Tipton’s Jacob Tischuk with 12.2 to play, an offensive rebound by Trent Pelzer and a foul put Pelzer at the line with 8.3 left. He made both free throws, making it a four-point lead, and a steal by Bierman in the closing seconds sealed the result.

     “That’s been a huge approach, to stay locked in mentally for the whole game, and in the last quarter we just didn’t do that,” coach Lambert said. “And their best players made a ton of plays down the stretch.”

     The Panthers finished with a 12-5 record, including 11-4 in the River Valley Conference.


Feb. 14

Tipton  14 11  4  25 – 54

Monti   12 16   8  13 – 49

     TIPTON (54) – Trent Pelzer 1-8 2-2 4, Frank Bierman 8-10 2-2 18, Andrew Stewart 4-10 9-11 21, Luke Becker 2-2 0-0 6, Jacob Tischuk 2-8 1-2 5, Payten Elijah 0-1 0-0 0, Blake Wilkins 0-1 0-0 0, Colby Kleppe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-40 14-17 54.

     MONTICELLO (49) – Tyler Luensman 0-2 0-0 0, Justin Recker 7-12 3-4 18, Luke Lambert 3-8 0-2 9, Connor Lambert 3-7 1-3 9, Brayden Cleeton 2-3 0-0 4, Devin Kraus 1-5 0-0 2, Jeff Carlson 3-3 1-2 7. Totals 19-40 5-11 49.

     Three-pointers: Stewart 4, Becker 2; L. Lambert 3, C. Lambert 2, Recker.

     Rebounds: Monticello 21 (L. Lambert 9), Tipton 20.

     Total fouls: Tipton 11, Monticello 11.



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