Ramblers tip ‘Stangs

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MONMOUTH – Shoot 14 percent in a half against most teams and you’re asking for trouble. Shoot 14 percent in a half against the Winthrop Ramblers and you’re virtually asking them to name their score.

Monmouth learned the hazards of allowing up-tempo Winthrop to control the pace Tuesday as Sam Leclerc and Tim Gingras kicked the Ramblers’ break into high gear in a 72-51 win.

Leclerc finished with 25 points, seven rebouds, six assists and three steals while Gingras added 16 points, four assists and four steals. Winthrop (10-1) held the Mustangs to just 15 points in the first half, including only four points in the second quarter. Monmouth shot 4 of 28 from the field for the half, giving Winthrop ample opportunity to do what it does best, run.

“We were more effective in the halfcourt last year, but this year, with our athleticism and depth at guard and the post, we’re looking to get out and run when we get the ball,” Leclerc said.

“It’s tough to get anything going when you shoot like that. There’s no flow to the game at all,” Monmouth coach Shelby Turcotte said. “We’re trying to get over that hump and be more consistent. We played well against Boothbay (last Thursday), then we hoped to come out here and play the same, and it didn’t exactly happen offensively or defensively.”

Leclerc scored the first six points of the game, and the Ramblers were off an running. He scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Ramblers took an 18-11 lead into the second period. The Mustangs (4-7) started to crash the offensive boards and took 18 shots in the second but only had one field goal apiece by Tyler Somerville and Ron Hobson to show for it, and trailed 33-15 at the half.

“The (starting) five were solid (defensively). We held them to 15 in the first half,” Winthrop coach Dennis Dacus said. “The second half, we went nine or 10 deep, which is what I want to do, especially in the playoffs, and those guys still have some work to do.”

“We couldn’t make shots, which didn’t help us slow the game down at all,” Turcotte said.

The Mustangs made five of their first six shots of the second half and eight of 11 in the third quarter but still couldn’t slow the pace down. Gingras scored 10 in the quarter, most of them while filling a lane while Leclerc ran the break. When the Ramblers did have to settle for halfcourt offense, Leclerc just got his outside game going and converted a pair of 3-pointers on his way to eight points in the quarter as Winthrop opened a 56-34 lead.

“We’ve had some intense practices working on clearing the boards, getting physical and just fast-breaking all day,” Leclerc said. “We’ve got guys, no matter what position, that can come out and fill the lanes and finish well. We’ve got really good athletes all across the board.”

“He is the hardest working kid in the state of Maine, and I’m not just saying that to boost him up,” Dacus said. “That guy is constantly working on his game, whether he’s running sprints…He lifts constantly. He’s at the gym for three hours on Sunday taking extra shots. It’s paying off.”

Mike Gingras added 10 points for the Ramblers. Hobson led Monmouth with 12, while Dylan Reny added 11 and Myles Bonenfant nine.

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