MONROE CITY, Mo. — Montgomery County came to Monroe City with a big advantage during a non-conference game on Saturday night against the Panthers.
The visiting Wildcats featured a 6-foot-7 center, Collin Parker, who averages 27 points per game and is a dominant force under the basket.
But Monroe City juniors Deion White and Jaedyn Robertson, 6-foot-2 and 6 feet, respectively, were undaunted as they took turns sticking to Parker as a tight-fitting jersey. The junior duo limited the senior center’s impact, particularly in the first half, when they held him to four points.
Joshua Talton, meanwhile, paced an aggressive attacking offense with 16 points, including statement-making dunk late in the fourth quarter, as Monroe City raced past the visiting Class 4 Wildcats, 60-49.
Robertson and White also challenged Parker on offense, combining for 20 points against the tall center – Robertson posted 12 points while scored 8 points.
“We knew it would be hard, but we worked our best to keep him from scoring,” White said of the effort to control Parker.
Robertson said that the pair knew they had to get physical with Parker.
“We just had to not let him score,” Robertson said.
On each of his baskets, Robertson maneuvered around Parker to sink unopposed layups.
The game opened on a technical foul against Montgomery County caused by a player dunking the ball and grabbing the rim during warmups. An official said after the game, it was only the second time in 32 years that he had called that particular foul.
The game started with Monroe City senior Logan Buhlig sliding in past a defender to get the first basket, giving Monroe City 2-0 lead. The traded the lead for the balance of the quarter, thanks to timely three-point shots by Montgomery County.
Monroe City pulled ahead in the second quarter, taking a 25-20 lead into halftime.
During the third quarter, Parker six of the 10 Montgomery County points, while Robertson paced Monroe City with six points, as the Panthers took a 42-30 lead at the end of the period.
The Wildcats came back in the fourth quarter, narrowing a 44-30 Monroe City lead to 44-37 as Parker began sinking shots, scoring 10 of his 20 points in the final period of play.
Monroe City coach Brock Edris said that despite some sloppy moment, he was pleased with the overall play.
“I would not say it was our cleanest game, by any means,” Edris said. “We did not communicate defensively as we need to, but we make some good plays.”
He was particularly happy with how his benched performed in the fourth quarter when starters Logan Buhlig and Kyle Hays each picked up fouls.
“We are not used to having two of our starters, Kyle and Logan, with four fouls, having to sit much of third and fourth quarter,” Edris said, “I thought that Cade (Chapman) and Reece Buhlig, who played his first significant offensive minutes as a varsity player, so I was very pleased.”
The Panthers now sit at 4-1 as Monroe City goes into Christmas break. Monroe City will play Kirksville on Saturday, Jan. 2 when play resumes. Two days later, Monroe City will begin play in the Clopton Tournament.