Monroe City Panthers dominate in District opener.

Weather forced last-minute changes for the Class III District 13 opening round of boys play on Tuesday, which led to an unexpected home game for the Monroe City Panthers as a contest with Highland was shifted from Centralia to Monroe City.

The Panthers, No. 1 seed in the District, rolled over Highland, 66-21, only a week after beating the Cougars 64-23 in the regular season.

C.E. Talton and Ethan Lehenbauer each poured in 14 points for the Panthers. Lehenbauer nailed four baskets from three-point range. Bryce Stark had 9 points whole Kaelin Kendrick-O’Bryan and Ryan Kendrick scored 8 points each.

“We had just played Highland the week prior, which made it easier for our players to remember their opponent and game plan,” said Monroe City Coach Brock Edris. “I was pleased with the way our team executed.”

Edris said that his team responded to an unexpected Highland game plan.

“Our previous two meetings with Highland they had played primarily zone. We had prepped our zone offense at practice, but Highland surprised us by playing man-to-man,’ he said. “Our guys adjusted, shared the basketball and played well defensively.”

Monroe City is scheduled to play Hallsville in the semifinals of the District 13 tournament on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Centralia. The winner will play for the championship on Saturday at 3 p.m. against the winner of the Palmyra-Centralia game.

“The last two times we have played Hallsville was in the district semifinals last season and the year prior in the district championship,” Edris said.