The Monticello Sages fell behind by double digits in the fourth quarter again on Tuesday night and again rallied but fell short in a 57-52 loss at St. Joseph-Ogden High School in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action.
Neither the Spartans nor the Sages shot well in the first half as St. Joe hoisted up 16 first-half three-point attempts and connected on just one. Conversely, Monticello connected on just 6-of-29 first-half field goal attempts.
Trailing 20-17 to start the second half, Garrett Kepley made two free throws to cut the deficit to one but Peyton Cain answered in transition for St. Joe to make it 22-19. After Nick Vogelzang tied the game at 22 with a three, The Spartans finished the quarter on an 8-0 run that was highlighted by freshman Ty Pence’s back-to-back threes and the Spartans rallied to a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter before Monticello rallied late in the fourth.
The Spartans knocked down their free throws late to withstand the Monticello run and held on for their 16th win and kept their unblemished mark in conference play.
Pence led all scorers with 25 points. Chance Izard scored 10 points for St. Joe.
Jake Edmondson helped lead a comeback for the Sages with 12 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter. Garrett Kepley scored 13 for Monticello, but nine came in the first half. Briggs Fultz grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Monticello outrebounded St. Joe 39-32. The Spartans dished out 13 assists on their 15 made field goals, shooting just 31-percent for the game and finished 6-for-26 from distance. The Sages did not fair much better, shooting 33-percent from the floor for the game and committed 15 turnovers.
The Sages drop to 12-10 overall and are 1-3 in Illini Prairie play.
The Spartans are 16-6 and a improve to a perfect 5-0 in league action.
Monticello hits the road for their second of three road games this week with a haul to IVC Friday night. Game time is 7 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.