Playing without Kelly Winking, who was out with the flu, the Monroe City girls’ basketball still went out and beat Community 36-35 Thursday night.

“It wasn’t the prettiest thing,” Monroe City coach Cody Leonard said. “We had the flu bug hit us pretty good. Our starting center is home with the flu and we had to play some girls who haven’t been playing a whole lot.”

The Lady Panthers took a 13-9 lead over the Lady Trojans in the opening quarter of play and then put the game away in the second quarter. Monroe City did not allow a single Community basket in the second quarter while scoring 11 points of their own.

“For three quarters we played real good defense,” Leonard said.

Monroe City took a 24-9 lead into halftime.

When play resumed in the third quarter, the Lady Panthers continued to extend their lead as Monroe City outscored Community 11-7 to take a 35-16 lead.

With a 19 point lead heading into the final eight minutes, the Lady Panthers also were dealing with foul trouble. To avoid the fouls, Monroe City dropped in a zone coverage that allowed Community to start scoring some points. Community outscored Monroe City 19-11 in the fourth quarter.

“In the fourth quarter we were in the zone,” Leonard said. “But when we switched out of it, I think they only scored four more points.”

Leonard and his team were not worried.

“It never got to single digits,” Leonard said. “We started just running our offense for layups and getting fouled. We were up pretty decent going into the fourth, so it wasn’t a huge worry.”

Carly Spalding led the Lady Panthers with a game-high 15 points. Leah Albus and Olivia Crager both contributed 9 points for Monroe City.

For Community, Amelia Knipfel had a team-high 10 points while Paige Curtis chipped in nine.

With the win, Monroe City improves to 7-0 on the season. The Lady Panthers will return home tonight as they host Winfield. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.