As a whole, the 2012-13 season didn’t go exactly the way the Monticello boys basketball team hoped it would. Monticello went winless in the Mississippi 8 season, finishing with a record of 6-21 overall.
But, within that big picture there were numerous details that provided enjoyable moments throughout the long winter season.
One of the brightest moments this year was a trip north for Monticello for a two-game Christmas tournament. In the first game, Monticello rolled by Duluth Denfield 62-50 behind a game-high 26 points from Will Bauman. The next day, Monticello played Grand Rapids, the host of the tournamaent. Monticello fell 65-47 but not before putting forth one of its best battles of the season. Grand Rapids features a big-time Division I prospect in center Alex Illikainen and they would go on to be a state tournament team. But Monticello wasn’t fazed. The Magic fought to within 32-30 at the half, and continued to battle into the second half until the game finally slipped away from them. They held Illikainen to 15 points, which was well below his average.
“That whole weekend was a great time,” said Coach Jason Schmidt. “We played really well both games.”
As the conference season wore on, Monticello found themselves constantly in games, thanks largely to great defense, but they were never quite able to pull one out. Still, Schmidt says he noticed a lot of growth in his players as the season wore on.
“They got a taste of what it’s like to play at this level,” he said. “Guys became tougher, both mentally and physically.”
The Magic will need to rely on that toughness next year, as they graduate a handful of big time contributors. Monticello’s two leading scorers, Bauman (16 points per game) and Hayden Laimer (13.5 points per game) both graduate, along with defensive stopper Pat McNaughton and key contributors Tanner Okerson and Gunnar Nemitz.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]