The Monroe City boys basketball team received scoring from eight players to come away with a 60-54 win over Mendon-Unity on Tuesday.
Good players find a way to get their points throughout a game regardless of how much attention they draw from the opposing defense.
C.E. Talton found a way to come up with 24 points for Monroe City on Tuesday night against Mendon-Unity. But seven other players stepped up to record points to help the Panthers come away with a hard-fought 60-54 win over the Mustangs in the Rumble on the River played on the campus of John Wood Community College.
One of those seven role players was Antwuan Battle. The Panthers reserve guard came off the bench for nine points.
Battle knocked down a pair of 3-pointers late in the first half to help the Panthers to a 29-28 lead at the break. His second triple of the game, which came with 1 minute, 21 seconds left before halftime, broke a 24-all tie.
“He made some huge shots for us tonight,” Panthers coach Brock Edris said. “We were struggling on offense and the shots we were taking just were not falling. But Antwuan came in off the bench and was that difference maker we needed.”
The junior mentioned he felt relieved to see his first two shots go through the hoop.
“I had been missing a few shots in the previous games, so it felt good to get back to shooting the ball good tonight,” Battle said.
After the Mustangs grabbed a 28-27 lead with 10 seconds left in the half, Talton sliced his way through the Unity defense for bucket just ahead of the halftime buzzer.
A three from Luke Jansen pulled Unity even, 38-38, with 2:38 left in the third period.
Talton pushed the Panthers lead back to six points after back-to-back 3-pointers on their next two possessions. Battle assisted on both shots.
“We have been playing together for a while now so our chemistry is starting to get better now,” Battle said of he and Talton.
But Unity wouldn’t go away. The Mustangs trimmed the deficit to 46-42 heading into the final eight minutes of play and 48-44 with 5:47 left in the game.
Then another player stepped up for the Panthers.
Jess Greiman recorded back-to-back buckets to push the lead back to eight points with 5:01 to play.
Unity again crept back to within four points, but could get no closer.
“We knew coming in against a Unity team coached by Keith Carothers, they were going to be a gritty and physical team,” Edris said of the Mustangs. “And that is what we got from them tonight.”
Jansen paced the Mustangs with 15 points and six rebounds, while Taylor Klusmeyer added 12 points.
Talton led the Panthers with a game-high 24 points, 11 rebounds and swatted away a pair of shots.
“We got our usual production out of C.E. tonight, but everyone else stepped up too,” the Panthers coach said. “It wasn’t pretty at times, but playing on the road, our guys just found a way to win at the end.”
The Panthers head into Christmas break with an 8-1 record.
“With getting all our football guys here late, I think 8-1 is a pretty solid start,” Edris said. “Now we get seven days to rest up before getting ready to try and go to the Clopton Tournament and get three wins. For a lot of the guys, it will be their first real break since June or July."