After a slow start in Rio Hondo League play, Monrovia wins four out of last six
Monrovia High’s men’s basketball team began the 2019-20 regular season on a slump. They had gone 0-4 in Rio Hondo League play to begin the season, earning their first win over Blair near the end of January. They responded with a heartbreaking defeat to Temple City, one in which they lost by a single bucket.
In order for the Wildcats to continue their play past the regular season and into the CIF Southern Section Playoffs, it was imperative that they went on a run to end the season.
It began with a win over San Marino on Jan. 29, a team that they lost to by nine points less than a month ago. Two days later they lost to La Cañada, who went a perfect 10-0 during the regular season. However, another victory kept the Wildcats alive as they conquered South Pasadena on Feb. 4. Only one game remained on their schedule. It was their final home game, and if they won they would advance to the CIF Playoffs.
The team walked onto home court on Thursday night with a focus that was inevitable. Facing Blair yet again, the team went into the matchup with confidence. The first quarter favored Monrovia 24-18, and the second quarter yet again showed a strong offensive display from the home side. The 27 point total in the second period was the most the Wildcats had scored in a quarter throughout their league play portion.
The third quarter was when Monrovia ran away with the contest. While the offense was only able to put up 13 points, they held their opponents to only three points. Heading into the final quarter Monrovia was leading 64-44. In the fourth, Blair actually outscored MHS but it failed to matter. The final whistle blew and the Wildcats escaped with an 84-66 victory in their final contest of the regular season. Overall, they finished with a 13-14 overall record.
It was enough to advance the Wildcats to the CIF Southern Section Division 3A Championship Bracket. In the first round, they will be playing the Village Christian Crusaders of the Olympic League. The Crusaders went 22-6 overall, along with a 7-1 league play record.
Despite the apparent gap between the two sides, as the Wildcats are ranked 664th in the state according to MaxPreps while Village Christian is ranked 71st, Monrovia has proven their incredible adversity near the end of this season. Head Coach Samuel-Sheeck Morris and his team are unwilling to back down and they will be heading into the playoffs with a chip on their shoulders.
The game between the Wildcats and Crusaders will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at Village Christian High School in Sun Valley, Calif. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m.