A tightly contested Firelands Conference boys’ basketball battle between St. Paul and Monroeville came down to a blocked three-pointer that would have won the game for Monroeville.
St. Paul senior Adam Smith blocked the potential game-winning three-pointer by Monroeville’s Ryan Stower as time expired to give St. Paul a 46-44 win Friday night at the convocation center.
The Flyers improve to 2-6, 2-4 with the win, while Monroeville drops to 4-5, 2-4.
Trailing 45-43, Monroeville junior Cory Long missed his second of two free throws with 40 seconds left in the game that would have tied the game at 45-45.
St. Paul senior Erik Stanbery grabbed the rebound off the miss and Monroeville fouled Tyler Dilger, who missed the front end of the one-and-one.
Long’s runner in the lane narrowly missed on the Eagles’ next possession, Stanbery again rebounded the ball for the Flyers and headed to the foul line for two shots and a chance to give St. Paul a three-point lead with eight seconds left.
Stanbery made the first, but missed the second. Without any timeouts and trailing by two, Monroeville advanced the ball when Stower launched the potential game-winning three that was blocked by Smith.
“That was a real good high school basketball game,” St. Paul coach Mike Smith said. “Those are games that will make you better.”
“I thought we competed hard for 32 minutes. We made some plays down the stretch at both ends, both offensively and defensively,” the coach added.
“It just felt good that these guys battled. We talked all week about battling and competing harder for 32 minutes.”
“After the game, I [asked] them ‘How good does it feel when you compete that hard and you get rewarded for it?’” the coach added. “At this point, we’re out of the league race, but we have an opportunity to get better and make a tournament run by the end of the year.”
Monroeville held a 18-17 lead at halftime, but St. Paul began the third quarter with a quick 10-4 run to take a 27-22 lead.
The Flyers held a two-point lead, 32-30, heading into the fourth. Both teams scored 14 points in final period.
St. Paul made seven three-pointers, including three alone by senior Will Crosby off the bench. Dilger and Crosby paced the Flyers with 11 points each.
St. Paul made 5-of-12 free throws, while Monroeville shot 8-of-20 from the line. The Flyers won the rebounding battle, 33-28, but doubled Monroeville in turnovers, 18-9.
Ryan Dragon kept Monroeville in the game for much of the fourth quarter. At one point, the senior scored 10 straight points for the Eagles. For the game, he tallied 12 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double.
“We just talked about in our timeouts and at halftime, every possession counts…one stop at a time, one good, quality possession, time after time, each trip,” Monroeville coach Zac Reer said, about his approach to battling St. Paul while trailing virtually the entire second half.
After the game, Reer told his team, which has now lost four of its last five games, “Every play is important from the jump ball to the end and playing 32 minutes of solid, fundamental basketball,” he said. “Sometimes, we get a minute, two or three minutes of lapses…and it ends up hurting us. We just gotta focus on every possession, one at a time, playing for 32 minutes.”
Both teams continue conference action Friday in FC action.
St. Paul hosts Crestview, while Monroeville plays New London at home.
St. Paul 46
Crosby 4-0-11, Foster 2-0-4, Dilger 4-1-11, Walliser 1-0-2, Bartow 3-1-7, A. Smith 2-2-8, Stanbery 0-1-1, Kramer 1-0-2, Totals 17-5-46.
Stower 3-1-8, Long 2-3-7, Blair 2-1-5, Old 2-0-5, Heck 1-0-2, Bercheck 2-1-5, Dragon 5-2-12, Totals 17-8-44.
Score by quarter
M’ville 5 13 13 14 — 44
St. Paul 5 12 14 14 — 46
St. Paul 46
Griffin 2-0-4, Sortino 4-2-11, Dankelson 2-3-7, Ross 0-2-2, Ghazoul 5-3-13, Thomas 1-0-2, Schaffer 2-3-7, Totals 16-13-46.
Sweet 4-4-12, Collingwood 0-2-2, See 3-3-9, Burrow 1-4-6, Sparks 2-2-6, Krill 0-1-1, Ott 1-2-4, Totals 11-18-40.
Score by quarter
M’ville 7 14 7 12 — 40
St. Paul 13 13 10 10 — 46