The Monett Middle School seventh and eighth grade basketball teams continue their outstanding seasons.
The Monett eighth graders defeated East Newton 33-25 Monday night.
The Cubs trailed 7-5 at the end of the first quarter but rallied to lead 13-12 at halftime.
"We're continuing to show little signs of improvement," said Monett eighth grade Coach Matthew Anderson. "That's going to be important as we head into our end-of-the year conference tournament. Our press was effective tonight, and we started to take care of the ball a little bit better than we have been."
Leading the eighth grade Cubs in scoring was Kyndal Phillips with 11 points. Isaac Long added 8 points. Zach Hammond tallied 6 points. Quincy Jackson and Garrett Craig contributed 3 points each. Chad Swanson finished with 2 points.
On Saturday, the eighth graders fell 29-24 to Lamar.
Monett trailed 3-1 at the end of the first quarter and 8-5 at halftime.
"We improved a bit more in this game," said Anderson. "We had the lead in the fourth quarter and couldn't hold it."
Monett scorers were: Phillips, 7 points; Swanson, 6 points; Jackson, 5 points; Elijah George and Craig, 2 points apiece; and Long and Hammond 1 point each.
The eighth grade Cubs fell 70-14 to Strafford last Thursday.
"Even though the score didn't show it, we played better than we have in a while," said Anderson. "Strafford is an excellent team, and you have to give them credit."
Scoring for Monett were: Phillips, 6 points; and Swanson, Jackson and Craig, 2 points each.
Seventh grade action
The Monett Middle School seventh grade boys basketball team (8-2) defeated Lamar 36-32 on Saturday.
The Tigers gave the Cubs all they wanted for the entire game.
"The game was very physical, and the officials were letting them play," said Monett seventh grade Coach Blair Powell. "It took us out of our rhythm a little bit."
|The seventh graders found themselves in a hole late in the game. Down by four with Lamar in possession of the ball, the Cubs came out of a time out with the will to win. David Lee picked off a Tigers' pass and took it the full length of the court for the lay-up.||Getting into a full-court press after the basket, the Cubs' Witt picked off the inbounds pass and quickly hit an acrobatic shot after drawing a foul.|
The 3-point play completed a 5-point swing that put the Cubs back in front for good.
Logan Coones and Cameron Witt went four for four from the foul line in the final seconds to solidify the victory.
"Cameron stepped up big tonight and had his best game of the season," said Anderson. "It's been fun watching these kids mature this year. What a great bunch of kids all the way around. They are probably the most unselfish group I have ever coached."
Witt led the seventh grade Cubs in scoring with 18 points. Jonah Paszek added 8 points. Coones chipped in 4 points, and David Lee finished with 6 points.
Coming off a tough overtime loss to Carl Junction the MMS seventh grader's were ready to get the taste of defeat out of their mouth.
Monett accomplished that goal by defeating Strafford 43-42 Thursday night in dramatic fashion.
Strafford (9-1) was averaging double-digit wins in each all of their previous victories.
Things for Monett didn't start well. The Cubs quickly fell behind 11-- 2.
"I think we might have been a little shell-shocked during pre-game," said Blair. "I guess they looked intimidating to our guys. Strafford had a 6'1" post and a couple of really athletic kids. We were just not focused to start the game."
After a timeout, the Cubs responded with a run of their own to tie the game at 11 at the end of the first quarter. It was a back-and-forth contest from there with the Cubs taking a 24--22 lead at the half.
Monett caught fire in the second half with solid defense to open a 10-point lead in the third.
"Witt and David Lee were huge in the paint for us in the second half, not only defensively, but on the offensive end as well," added Blair. "David penetrated well against their defense and consistently found a wide-open Witt who would knock down the open shot."
A run by Strafford in the fourth quarter knotted the game at 40 with 30 seconds left.
Strafford worked the ball into the post to take a 40-42 advantage with nine ticks left on the clock.
Monett called a time out with the inbounds pass coming in at half court. Great execution by the eighth grade Cubs on the inbounds play found Coones alone for a 3-point shot that hit nothing but net as time expired.
"That last play was like it was going in slow motion," said Anderson. "Everything just fell in place. What a great game and fun atmosphere to participate in. I'm excited for the kids. They deserved this after the Carl Junction loss.
"On the last possession Witt took the inbounds pass, penetrated on the defens, made a great kick out pass to Paszek who provided the assist on Coone's game winner," recalled Anderson. "Moore and Witt set solid screens on the Strafford defensive that sprung Logan for the final shot."
Scoring for Monett were: Witt, 15 points; Coones, 13 points; Lee, 7 points; Paszek, 4 points; and Moore, 3 points.