BY NICK MUDD
PressBox 790 Sports Reporter
MONROE CITY — The Monroe City girl’s and boy’s basketball teams played host to South Shelby in Clarence Cannon Conference matchups Tuesday night.
The Lady Panthers were tested throughout before edging the upset-minded Ladybirds, 69-65 while the Panther boy’s coasted to a 71-34 win.
The Class 3 No. 1 ranked Panthers improved to 18-0 on the season, while the No. 3 ranked boys team won their 12th straight, improving to 17-1 on the year.
In the girl’s game, Panthers’ coach Cody Leonard felt like his team was not the better team for most of the night.
“We did a heck of a lot better taking care of the ball, but defensively we were atrocious,” Leonard said. “They (South Shelby) outplayed us tonight, and we are lucky to come out with the win.”
From the tip, the Lady Cardinals would come out swinging scoring the first basket and forced Monroe City into an early timeout after an opening 9-2 run early in the first.
Coming out of the timeout, the Lady Panthers responded with an 11-0 run.
South Shelby’s Miranda Patterson took it upon herself to break the run by taking the ball coast to coast to bring the Lady Cardinals back within one point.
South Shelby used this slight change in momentum to go on a short 5-0 run.
In the final moments of the first quarter, Kaylee Gaines nailed a three-pointer to give South Shelby an 18-15 lead.
To start the second quarter, both teams traded baskets until Monroe’s offense and rebounding came together.
The Lady Panthers pulled ahead, 29-23, on the strength of a 10-0 run with 5:30 left in the second.
The bulk of the Lady Pather’s scoring from this run would come from Haley Hagan, and inside the paint.
Like the first, South Shelby scored the quarter-ending basket, but this time down 36-28 going into halftime.
In the second quarter, the Lady Panthers would use their height advantage to dominate the boards grabbing 15 in the second quarter to South Shelby’s four.
Coming out of the half, South Shelby would look to close the gap, led by Patterson’s 12 points in the third.
Riley Quinn and Hagan offset Patterson’s production as the Panther duo went to work inside and combined for 11 points in the frame to keep the Lady Panther’s lead, 53-50.
In the fourth, it was another battle for the lead trading baskets down the stretch.
With under five minutes to play the Lady Panthers would have the lead of 60-55.
Monroe City would struggle from the free-throw line late in the fourth going just 3 for 8.
The Lady Cardinals would capitalize on the Lady Panther’s struggles from the line and work their way in the closing minutes to within three 68-65.
However, Clara Minor closed the game out on a free throw with 20 seconds to play.
Coach Leonard said this about his team’s performance from the line late in the game “We have been a really good free-throw shooting this far in the season and the 4th quarter tonight was not one of those nights.”
Quinn paced the Panthers with 19 points, while Hagan added 18. Hallie Dyer and Minor both added 12 points while Bailee Hays finished with eight points in the win.
Patterson led the Ladybirds with a game-high 27 points, with Gaines (12) and Hannah Wegman (11) also joining in double figures.
The Monroe City Panthers boys team raced out to a 37-11 lead at the half and never looked back on the way to victory.
Joshua Talton led the Panthers with a game-high 19 points in just three-quarters of play. Jaedyn Robertson (13), Josiah Talton (10) and Logan Buhlig (10) also finished in double-figures for the Panthers.
Coach Brock Edris had this to say about his team’s performance Tuesday night, “After we started to get more assertive on the offensive end I think we looked a lot better, we shared the ball really well. But, we did not shoot behind the arc as well as we would have hoped tonight.”
However, the boys need to switch gears as they look to face off against the No. 2 ranked team in Missouri Class 3 Greenwood on Wednesday.
“I hope we get an opportunity to win this game. We put this game on the schedule the way it is playing a back to back to prepare us for what it is like in the postseason. In the final four, you don’t get an extra day to prepare. It’s one after the other.
“I hope Monroe City Panther nation will show out like they always do to support us on the road, and if they can’t come hopefully they’ll tune in to cheering us on,” Panthers coach Edris about Wednesday night’s upcoming game.