MONMOUTH — Not often afforded the luxury of time off during a short season, the Monmouth boys basketball team might have earned itself a few additional days off down the stretch.

Off an unexpected three-day break, the Mustangs started quickly and never relented in a 67-46 Class C South boys basketball win over Richmond on Tuesday night. Monmouth raced out with 20 of the game’s first 28 points and came out of halftime with an equally impressive 13-6 run en route to its fourth win in its last five games.

The loss was the Bobcats’ first of 2023 and snapped their five-game winning streak.

“I was really concerned,” Monmouth coach Wade Morrill said. “Our practice got canceled because of the weather (Monday), and I had given the kids Saturday off not knowing that we were going to have that. We had three days off in a row — to come out and play like that, it was really a blessing.”

Senior Manny Calder finished with a game-high 21 points for Monmouth (7-3), including nine in the first 2:45 of the third quarter to stretch a 31-21 halftime lead into a 42-27 runaway.

“The first four minutes of the game and the last four, that’s really the time we want to turn it up and get aggressive with it,” Calder said. “They’re a good team and they’d only lost one game, so that got us some Heal points. That’s good for us.”


Richmond (10-2) found itself playing from behind early.

A total of 22 turnovers didn’t help the Bobcats’ attempts to claw back into contention. Monmouth generated 14 points in transition following Richmond giveaways.

“That’s definitely a point of emphasis for us, always, is our defense,” Calder said. “Once we start speeding teams up and getting out, that’s when we’re at our best. When we’re forcing teams to speed up and turn it over, that’s what we want.”

“That’s close to our best,” Morrill said. “We used nine guys in the first half, and 10 or 11 in the second half. We’re just trying to keep the pace of the game up.”

By contrast, Monmouth committed only 10 turnovers.

Junior Sam Calder added 17 points and eight rebounds in the victory, while senior big man Hunter Frost ended with 13 points and enough boards (five) to help keep Richmond’s Connor Vashon (14 points, seven rebounds) contained.


A 23-point opening period handed Monmouth a 23-12 lead through eight minutes, and the Bobcats slowed the Mustangs enough in the second quarter to stay close. Bobcat Hunter Mason hit a trey to cut the Monmouth lead to to nine at 25-16, and then Vashon fed Kenny Mecham for a bucket and scored another of his own in the final 91 seconds of the quarter to pull to within 31-21.

Manny Calder, unamused by any comeback conversation, tore the Bobcats apart with his nine points right after halftime. He twice drove the lane in transition, hit a pair of free throws and then converted a traditional 3-point play to run the Monmouth lead back to 15 with 5:45 left in the quarter.

“I think that speaks to our whole team playing basketball the right way — playing hard, not taking plays off,” Morrill said. “We want to sprint down the floor, sprint to the basketball and get ahead of the basketball. I think Manny did a great job of that tonight, and we found him to give him some nice, solid looks.”

Buckets from Sam Calder, Forst and Isaac Oliveira — a trey from the left corner — opened up Monmouth’s largest lead of the night, 51-29, midway through the third.

Wyatt Casside finished with a team-high 16 points in the loss. Mason added eight.

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