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Ashlea Prouty | Democrat

Monticello teammates Jessie Kapito, second from left, and Robert Piley (24) and Valley Central teammates Chris Michella, left, and Michael Johnson, who is standing between Kapito and Piley, all watch the ball as it is about to fall through the net during last Monday night’s non-league game.

Monticello edges
VC Vikings, 56-54

By Ashlea Prouty
MONTICELLO — December 28, 2010 — As the temperatures dropped outside, the heat was rising inside the Monticello High School gym on Monday night, Dec. 20.
In front of an excited crowd in the warm gym, the Monticello Panthers defeated the visiting Valley Central Vikings 56-54 in a non-league basketball game.
Valley Central’s Tyler Jones scored the first two points of the game less than a minute into the first quarter. Moments later, Chris Michella added to the Vikings’ lead with a 3-point shot.
Monticello (3-3) spent much of the first quarter on defense, and trailed 16-10 at the completion of the first quarter.
As the second period began, Monticello displayed an obvious burst of intensity. Austin Billig and Jessie Kapito each recorded 3-point shots to help the Panthers narrow their deficit to two.
At the half, Valley Central (3-1) held a 30-28 advantage.
Michella recorded six points in the third quarter. But Kapito matched that and the Panthers’ energy never faltered. The home crowd was thunderous, which added to the team’s momentum.
However, the Vikings continued to hold the lead at the end of the third quarter, 40-39.
Monticello’s Shamell Moore scored immediately to begin the fourth period. He continued to add to the Panthers’ column on the scoreboard, recording 11 points in those final eight minutes of the game.
Valley Central continued to challenge the Panthers, as the scored was tied 54-54 with 16 seconds left. Moore scored his final two points with two seconds left, which allowed Monticello to clinch its third win of the season.
“It was a great game for us,” Monticello Coach Chris Russo said. “It was a huge win. We hung on, battled through and I am really proud of how we played.”
Valley Central Coach Eric Bartle said, “We had our opportunities in the first half and then we couldn’t get back in the ball game. They [Monticello] played well and deserved to win the game.”
Following the holiday break, Monticello will continue its season on Wednesday, Jan. 5 by visiting the Goshen Gladiators in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III game.

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