Jon Dinan | Democrat
Monticello's London Gandy defends Western Wayne's Bill Schumacher during the Monties' consolation victory in the Hawley Rotary Tip-off tourney played this past weekend in Wallenpaupack, Pa.
Monticello finds consolation in win
Story by Jon Dinan
WALLENPAUPACK For two of the past thee seasons the Monticello Monties have been crowned champions of the Hawley Rotary Tip-Off Basketball Tournament held at Wallenpaupack Area High School in Hawley PA. Monticello was dethroned as reigning champs last season and were looking for redemption this year at the 15th annual tourney.
Unfortunately their ultimate was derailed as they lost to Wallenpaupack 47-35 in the opening round.
The next day however, the Monties earned a hard-fought victory over Western Wayne in the consolation game to help ease their disappointment.
The game was very tight throughout. At half, Monticello led 18-17 and held that one-point advantage going into the fourth quarter.
With three and half minutes left in regulation Monticello point guard Daeshaun Thompson hit a big 3-pointer that put the Monties up by five and gave them their biggest lead since the second quarter.
With just a minute and a half left in the game, forward Rob Riley was fouled in the act of shooting. Riley hit both free throws in the clutch situation putting his team up seven and essentially sealing the 36-31 victory.
“I’ve been there before,” said Riley, who finished with a game-high 10 points and was named to the All-Tournament Team. “It’s just a matter of staying focused and mentally tough.”
Mental toughness is something that Monticello head coach Chris Russo wants to see more of from his team.
“We had a few mental lapses today but overall I’m happy with our effort,” said Russo. “It’s good that we got over the hump of getting that first win. Hopefully this game will serve as a springboard and allow us to carry some momentum into the rest of our season.”
Monticello will face Minisink Valley in their next contest on December 11.