MONMOUTH — It was a feel-good quarter for Monmouth Academy boys’ basketball coach Wade Morrill and his energetic and often impatient Mustangs on Thursday night.
Everything was working in the second period for the Mustangs, whose transition game and strong rebounding allowed them to put together a 43-26 win over the obstinate Mt. Abram Roadrunners.
“Yeah, the second quarter was awesome basketball,” Morrill said “The second quarter is every coach’s dream. Your team gets going and you are out in transition, getting layups, hitting open shots.
“It is a beautiful game when those shots are going. The second quarter was great basketball. Unfortunately, it is one fourth of the game, 25 percent of the game. So if I can do well 25 percent of the time on a test, it still doesn’t mean I know my subject matter.
“The second quarter was nice, but overall a lot positives. Again, every night is a learning process for our team because we have a lot young guys without a lot of experience.”
Patience was the key to the Mustangs’ success, and it explains whey they orchestrated an impressive 27-12 lead at halftime.
The Mustangs lost their way in the third quarter and their patience suddenly evaporated again, allowing the Roadrunners to chip away at the lead. The Roadrunners were stronger on the boards and started hitting their shots from the perimeter. Casey Holt scored the team-high nine points.
“We have had a habit of that this year,” Morrill said. “Twenty points in basketball now is nothing. I mean the game changes so fast.
“You just got to execute the whole time and do your job the whole time. You could see we got a lead and we started throwing the ball around, getting impatient, started shooting hurried shots … turnovers. We have to do a better job than that.”
Monmouth sophomore Gabe Martin had the hot hand, scoring the game-high 22 points and knocking down three 3-pointers from the perimeter. Junior forward Connor Davies scored eight points.
But Monmouth Academy slowed it down in the fourth quarter and used its defense to prevent the Roadrunners from scoring a basket for the next six minutes.
I thought that game was going to be a lot closer than it was,” Mt. Abram coach Richard Hawkes said. “We wanted to control the pressure a little bit, control the tempo of the game and they kind of took it away from us. So it was kind of disappointing.
“We had a bad second quarter. Couldn’t get our shots to fall. We came back a little in the third, but we just got outplayed.
“We played more of our game, tried to run our offense and stuff. We get reluctant to do that, not just because of their defense, but we just haven’t figured out how to play four quarters of basketball, (but) we are going to get there.”