Top-ranked Pirates earn second victory over rival
With one minute, 35 seconds remaining in Tuesday night’s Monticello-Drew Central senior boys’ basketball game at Dan Coston Field House, one side of the gym resembled a ghost town—and it wasn’t the visitors’ stands.
Where the building had been rocking only moments before, it’s a good bet not many Monticello fans wanted to see the end of what was a 64-52 Pirate victory on the “road.”
What most missed was two straight steals and layups by DC’s Trenton Eubanks and Montiel Daniels, capping a sweep of the Pirates’ crosstown rivals and improving Drew Central’s overall record to a gaudy 15-1.
“There was nothing puzzling about (Tuesday’s) game,” a happy Drew Central head boys’ basketball coach C.J. Watson laughed afterwards, an obvious reference to a comment made my Monticello head boys’ basketball coach Wayne Sherrer after DC has squeaked by Monticello 53-52 on Dec. 5, 2017 at Drew Central Gymnasium.
“It’s special, especially to our kids. We have a little chip on our shoulder sometimes—a small school. I grew up they way. We’re sometimes portrayed as a bunch of poor country kids sometimes but we’ve got real good kids. They deserve this everyone in a while.
“We’re 9-0 against the (Class) 4A teams we’ve played this year; we’ve got one left (Crossett on Friday at DC). That wasn’t our goal at the beginning of the year but now it’s something we can achieve and we’re going to try and achieve it.”
Monticello, though, almost stopped the Pirates’ win streak, now standing at 10 games. After Drew Central jumped out to an 8-0 lead, the Billies took a three-point advantage in the locker rooms at halftime, thanks to a 9-2 run of their own in the second quarter.
After intermission, however, it was all DC, the top-ranked 3A team on MaxPreps.com. The hosts just couldn’t solve the quicker Pirates. A 36-21 run in the third and fourth periods gave DC something it hasn’t experienced in a while—a sweep of Monticello. Even though the “Showdown In M-Town” Trophy had long been decided in Monticello’s favor, Watson said this victory, in particular, tasted sweet.
Daniels led all scorers in the gasme between friends with 18 points for the Pirates while Eubanks netted 12. Shannon Strickland, himself a part of many of DC’s 66-game junior high win streak, led the Billies with 14. Devario Ballard, who has also played at DC, scored 11 for Monticello.
“My concern is how we’ve been playing against everybody,” a clearly frustrated Sherrer lamented afterwards. “It’s not so much Drew Central—they’ve got a good group—but this was indicative of the way we’ve played all year.
“It’’s not so much who we’re playing, it’s just circumstances we haven’t handled, big moments in games we haven’t stepped up. I’ve seen this the whole year; we just didn’t handle the situation like we should have. We couldn’t execute, we couldn’t get stops on defense, we couldn’t get shots to drop.
“We don’t have that one guy in this group that is the rock we’ve always had. We haven’t developed that yet.”
Both teams entered Tuesday night’s rivalry game off big wins. Monticello silenced Fordyce 71-43 and Drew Central handled Hamburg 68-47 last Friday.