The Magic picked up one very good home win last week, taking care of business against Becker, but it was sandwiched by two losses, as they fell to 0-3 in Mississippi 8 play.
Coming off a close home loss to Big Lake Thursday night, Monticello came out hot in a Friday night home contest against the Bulldogs. Hayden Laimer helped set the tone early, knocking down a couple of big three pointers in the opening minutes.
“He definitely made things go for us,” said Coach Jason Schmidt. “He’s been shooting well.”
Laimer’s early threes helped open up the lane for others, as Monticello scored nearly at will in the first half, on their way to a 42-27 halftime lead.
In the second half, Monticello relied more on defense and taking care of the ball, as they maintained the lead to the final horn, winning by a score of 65-48.
“It was good for our guys to play with a lead and to have momentum the whole game,” said Schmidt. “We talked about the fact that we needed to come out strong right away. For them to execute that was huge.”
Execution was one of the keys for Monticello. The Magic turned the ball over just eight times, about ten turnovers below their season average.
“If we turn the ball over less than ten times a game, we’re either winning or it’s a two-to-three point game,” said Schmidt.
The other key was Laimer. The senior finished with 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including 4 threes and a 2-for-2 performance at the free throw line.
He was aided by Will Bauman who finished with 12 points, Brody Grantz who added 10, and Gunnar Nemitz’s 9 points.
Tuesday night, Monticello lost 63-40 to St. Michael-Albertville, in what was described as a very physical battle.
“We’re learning how to be physical,” said Schmidt. “But now we have to learn how to execute in these physical games.
Laimer led the Magic with 10 points in defeat.
Monticello will take its next crack at picking up a conference win Friday night, when they travel to Cambridge for a conference tilt. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at firstname.lastname@example.org