"I thought we did a good job defensively executing our game plan," said Monett coach Ty Goetz. "What killed us is not finishing on the offensive end. We left too many shots short."
The Cubs, who finished the season 9-19 overall, fell behind early in the game.
Monett cut the Carl Junction advantage to 5 points twice (13-8 and 15-10) in the second period, and even though the Cubs outscored the Bulldogs 13-12 in the second frame, Carl Junction were ahead 25-17 at halftime.
The Cubs shot a woeful 54 percent (14 of 26) from the charity stripe despite being aggressive and attacking the basket.
"If we make our free throws and finish inside, we win the game," said Goetz. "We wanted them to settle for 3-pointers and long jump shots. We knew they would hit a few, and they did. We had a chance."
Each team traded 5-0 runs to start the third period. Carl Junction twice swelled its lead to 14 points (34-20 and 39-25) only to witness the Cubs roar back and cut the lead to 7 points at 41-34 after three quarters.
Trailing 50-39 midway through the fourth period, Monett was handed a golden opportunity to close the gap.
Woods drove the lane and was fouled on a shot attempt. A technical foul was then assessed on a different Carl Junction player, which meant that Monett would have four free throws attempts and maintain possession of the ball.
The Cubs could only convert on two of the four attempts. Tyler Green was fouled on the ensuing possession and was unable to connect from the charity stripe. Monett then stole the ball from the Bulldogs but missed a layup on the offensive end.
In a series of events that had the potential of eight points, the Cubs only scored 2.
Payton Walker then drilled a 3-pointer for Carl Junction, which ignited a 10-0 run that proved to be the death knell for the Cubs as the Bulldogs opened up a 61-40 lead.
Scoring for Carl Junction: Travis Vogt, 18; Matt Magee and Payton Walker, 13 apiece; Chase Marrs and Devin Corbin, 6 each; Jordan Keller, 4; and Hunter McPherson and Anthony Stokes, 2 apiece.
Scoring for Monett: Green and Woods, 21 each; Jarred Witt and Jacob Fair, 3 each; and Travis Thompson, 2 each.
Afterward the game, Coach Goetz reflected on his team and its future.
"These seniors were in eighth grade when I took over as varsity coach," said Goetz. "They have been a wonderful group of boys. The key for our returning players next season is to get in the gym and play as much basketball as possible."
The McDonald County Mustangs upset second-seeded Cassville 56-50 in the other Class 4, District 12 semi-final game. The Mustangs out-scored the Wildcats 11 to 1 over the game's final three minutes to win.
Miguel Morales paced McDonald County with 21 points. Chance Buttram added 19 for the Mustangs.
Ricky Nichols scored 17 to lead the Wildcats. Joel Maher chipped in 15 points.