A frantic Monticello rally fell short against Pontiac Friday night as the Indians escaped with a 65-63 win in Illini Prairie Conference boys basketball action from Monticello High School.
The Indians matched their biggest lead of the night with two free throws from Max Gschwendtner (shwent-ner) at 49-35 with 4:49 to play and from there Monticello used a bevy of three-pointers matched with Pontiac turnovers while sending Pontiac to the line but the Indians made free throws down the stretch to just hold off the frantic rally by Monticello.
A Ben Cresap three with 1:59 left to cut the deficit to 51-46. An Ethan Miller three brought Monticello to 57-55. Two more free throws from Gschwendtner gave Pontiac a 59-55 lead then Miller drilled another three to bring the Sages within 59-58. Ryan Weir made two free throws for Pontiac to make the score 61-58 but the Sages scrambling offense failed to get a good shot on the ensuing possession and two more Weir free throws brought the score to 63-58. Garrett Kepley made a three with ten seconds left. Carter Dawson made two free throws to seal the win but not before another three from Kepley with two seconds left was the final margin 65-63.
Pontiac shot 30-for-35 from the foul line on the night. Monticello managed just four field goals in the third quarter and was outscored 14-8.
The Indians shot 59-percent from the floor.
Monticello turned 18 Pontiac turnovers into 27 points and scored 32 points in the paint to Pontiac’s 18 points.
The Sages handed out 13 assists to just eight turnovers.
Pontiac moves to 10-10 overall and 2-2 in the Illini Prairie Conference. Monticello is now 12-9 and 1-2 in league play.
Hear more boys basketball action Tuesday night when the Sages travel to St. Joe-Ogden for a 7 pm conference matchup. Hear it on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.
Hear Monticello girls basketball Monday night at Tolono Unity at 7 pm also on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.