FARMINGDALE — The Monmouth boys basketball team kicked off the second half of its season Wednesday night with its most important win to date.
Senior Brett Wilson scored 11 of his team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Mustangs pulled away from Hall-Dale for a 49-37 win in a Mountain Valley Conference matchup of Class C tournament bound teams. Results leave Monmouth at 6-4 and Hall-Dale at 7-5.
“It’s extremely important for us,” Monmouth senior Brandon Goff said of the win. “This team beat Dirigo, and we got beat pretty bad by a couple of those upper teams. It was good to beat a team that had beaten one of those upper ones.”
Wilson scored six straight that gave the Mustangs a 41-31 lead. He began his mini-run with a jumper from the right side then was fouled and went to the line for a 1 and 1. He made the first and missed the second, but teammate Kasey Smith crashed the boards for an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Wilson who nailed a 3 from the left side to give Monmouth a 10-point lead.
“When he hit that three it put us up by 10 and now they’re going to have to score on most of their possessions,” Monmouth coach Lucas Turner said.
The Bulldogs managed just six points the rest of the way while the Mustangs went 6 for 6 from the line and got a steal and layup from freshman Hunter Richardson to seal the win. Marcques Houston added nine points and nine rebounds for Monmouth while Goff scored nine points. Junior Brian Allen paced Hall-Dale with 16 points.
Both teams played in-your-face man-to-man defense. Monmouth committed 30 turnovers, about 20 of those a result of Hall-Dale’s pressure defense, while the Bulldogs turned it over 23 times. The Mustangs did a better job of capitalizing on the turnovers, though, while the Bulldogs struggled to score.
“We really struggled to pass the ball and we struggled to enter the ball to the post,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said. “And we came out and missed probably 12 of our first 14 jump shots. We’re not talented enough to not play well (and win).”
Neither team gained an edge in the first half. Monmouth trailed 18-14 before closing the second quarter with a six-point run that included two layups from Goff to lead 20-18 at the break. The Mustangs opened the second half with a 9-0 run that included two hoops from Houston and a three from the left corner by Wilson to make it 29-18.
The Bulldogs didn’t fold. Allen hit a layup and a free throw, Nat Crocker (eight points) a foul line jumper and Bryson Camp a 3-pointer from the right side to cut the lead to 29-26. Wilson, who struggled with his shooting in the first half, opened the fourth quarter with a 3 from the top of the circle and Hall-Dale never fully recovered.