The Monroe City boys basketball team forced 24 turnovers en route to a 72-25 victory over South Shelby on Tuesday night.

Monroe City boys basketball coach Brock Edris wanted his team to fine-tune its full-court press defense Tuesday night.

All systems were a go.

Monroe City forced 24 turnovers, including 17 in the first half, en route to a 72-25 victory over South Shelby in a Clarence Cannon Conference road game.

“Our guys did a good job moving, being active and getting deflections and sharing the ball and looking for guys that were breaking down the floor,” Edris said.

Monroe City (16-3, 3-1) scored nine unanswered points to take control with an 18-5 lead through the first quarter. 

Antwuan Battle extended the Panthers lead to 33-7 with a steal and score halfway through the second period. 

Brock Wood, who averages 15 points a game for the Cardinals (7-12, 0-3), managed just eight in the loss — six of which were free throws. 

“We were trying to speed them up a little bit and keep the ball away from Wood,” Battle said. “We like to play really tight defense and press them so we can have more offense.”

The Panthers took a 43-11 lead into the intermission by holding the Cardinals to 1-of-14 shooting from the field in the first half. South Shelby went a stretch of 14 minutes, 18 seconds without making a field goal, including the entire second quarter.

The only hiccup in the first half for Monroe City was what appeared to be a knee-to-knee collision involving Panthers junior standout C.E. Talton and Wood. 

Talton, who paced Monroe City with 24 points and 12 rebounds, went to the floor favoring his knee with 2 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

The guard eventually walked to the bench on his own strength.

“It sucked for a little bit,” Talton said of the injury. “At first I didn't think I was going to get up, but then it started wearing off, so I was like, 'Yeah, I can still play.' I didn't want to end on that, definitely.” 

Talton remained on the bench for the remainder of the first half but returned to the court after halftime. He made his presence felt in the third quarter with a trio of threes and also a slam dunk on a fast break. 

Monroe City grew its advantage to 63-20 entering the final period.

Kaelin Kendrick-O'Bryan and Battle each finished with nine points, while Blake Hays and Bryce Stark added eight a piece. Zach Osborn (6), Jadon Underhill (4), Brad Cheek (2) and Michael Ryan (2) rounded out the Panthers scoring.

“A lot of different guys scored for us, and we had guys come off the bench to give us good minutes like Jadon Underhill and Brad Cheek,” Edris said. “They made some good plays, and we were able to do a few things that we haven't worked on as much.”

Edris gave credit to South Shelby for playing a hard 32 minutes despite the lopsided outcome.

“There was a time we were young like South and played some really tough teams,” he noted. “Their coach (Ethan Shackelford) is doing a great job teaching them the fundamentals of defense. I think the future is bright and he has a good thing going.”

Monroe City plays at Knox County on Wednesday night.