Pesky defense and clutch shots around the basket made the difference.
Mark Morris beat R.A. Long 53-33 at Joe Moses Court on Thursday after shutting out the Jacks for the first 12 minutes. The next 20 minutes were back and forth, though, as the Jacks chipped away in true Civil War fashion.
“With the young guys it was kind of like deer in headlights; you could just tell,” RAL coach Jeray Key said. “But like I told them after the game, we were down 19-0 with half the second quarter gone, and then we played an even game. We played an even game and didn’t even really play that well. So there’s a few bright spots. … I was glad they kept competing and stayed in it.”
Thomas Sprague scored 10 points in the first half for MM, though the Monarchs weren’t able to convert a field goal until the midpoint of the first quarter, when Reece Gibb nailed a corner 3.
“It obviously wasn’t a game of great flow either way,” MM coach Bill Bakamus said. “The game of basketball, people like to see the ball moving up and down the floor, 3s, and uncontested shots. I think both teams played real pesky defense and that was as good of a defensive stand that we’ve had. For that long, we held them scoreless for 13 minutes or something like that.
“So I give our kids credit, they buckled down at that end of the floor. We weren’t able to get into a great offensive flow, but it’s one of those games where it’s choppy and you have to pick your spots when they’re there. It was just a typical Civil War; there was lots of energy and kids are working hard and giving it all they had.”
It was 25-8 favoring the Monarchs at halftime, though momentum was building on the Jacks’ end of the floor.
“I thought our effort was good in the second half,” Key said. “Deer in headlights during the first, but they held their own in the second half, played them even in the second half, but it’s what happens when you’re playing some young guys. We played two freshmen who had a lot of minutes, and (Cameron) Holden is a sophomore, and this is his first Civil War game. Even (Ryan) Plampin, he’s a junior but this is his first Civil War game. Cathcart and Thompson were the only guys who’ve played in this game, all the other guys are fresh faces. So they kind of got a little taste of it, and it was good for them.”
Jamond Harris was one of the freshmen, scoring three points for the night but playing point guard and completing the second half without a turnover.
“You can only ask so much from a freshman and he played pretty well. He was getting double-teamed and even when he got double-teamed it wasn’t even his fault,” Key said. “So for what we ask out of him, he did a pretty good job.”
The Jacks came within 11 points halfway through the third quarter, though MM guard Dawson Fritz took the 29-18 score and made it 38-18 within a few minutes. Fritz nailed consecutive layups and made a few free throws before Rome Hendrickson sank a 3 shortly before the third quarter ended.
“It’s picking your spots, and Dawson for example, once he saw that there was a drive lane he was taking advantage of it,” Bakamus said. “He’s got that great first step and quickness, he’s also able to dish the ball and get it to people at point-blank range.”
Eight minutes went by before the Monarchs were able to call it their third consecutive Civil War victory, and 28th in the last 15 years.
RAL’s Jacob Thompson led all scorers with 13 points and grabbed six boards in limited run due to foul trouble, while MM saw Rarey Sommer score 11 points. Fritz and Sprague finished with 10 points each, with Fritz also adding six rebounds and five assists.