Turnovers and a slow finish for the Monrovia boys basketball team ended its season on a sour note, as the Wildcats lost 77-65 to Alemany in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section 4AA playoffs Wednesday night.
“My boys fought very hard,” Monrovia coach Jarod Mix said. “Alemany just had us out of character, playing more aggressive than we did. Our guys did respond real well under pressure and came back, sticking through for 32 minutes. We just fell short in the end.”
The Wildcats played sloppy throughout the game on offense, even though they had a solid game from the field from their leading scorers. Alemany utilized its full-court press for most of the game, which led to 17 steals and over 30 points off turnovers.
“We knew coming into tonight that we needed to have a great game,” Monrovia’s Jay Henderson said. “We played to our potential and the score did show, but a ton of mistakes just hurt us overall. We knew that we had to play near perfect against a tough team like Alemany, but it just wasn’t there.”
The loss for Monrovia also makes it its fourth in as many playoff games since the 2007-08 season, losing all four in the opening round. The game also marked Henderson’s last game as a Wildcat, who averaged over 17 points a game this season.
“It’s always painful to end a season playing with guys you get used to for so long,” Henderson said. “I’m going to miss these times playing with my friends game in and game out.”
Monrovia fell behind within the first three minutes of the game. Alemany took advantage of early turnovers to the tune of a 10-2 run, but Monrovia eventually got back into a groove by speeding up its offense. Michael Carter drew a foul on a fast break and made his free throw to cut the Warrior lead to four, but another spurt gave Alemany a 24-16 lead after the first quarter.
A normal pace took over the second period, as Alemany eased off its full court press but managed to take over the game on the glass to extend its lead by as many as 13 points. Alemany led at the break 43-31.
Then things began to click for the Wildcats (11-17), who picked up 10 points off turnovers in the third quarter. A pair of back-to-back steals by Henderson once again cut the lead to eight near the middle of the third quarter. Alemany answered back with quick buckets by KJ Moffett.
The Warriors scored eight-straight points to jump out to a 14-point lead (their largest of the night). Monrovia went on an 11-3 run, including a stretch of six points in a 30 second span, to pull the Wildcats deficit back down to just four points.
But Alemany’s Jordan Fuller doused out the fire at the end of the third by knocking down a 3 to give the Warriors a 64-57 lead.
Henderson led the Wildcats with 23 points. Carter had 12 points, while Derrin Jenkins had 10. Marqueze Coleman of Alemany led all scorers with 22 points, while Fuller had 19 points.