For the last 2 years the Class 2A state champion has come from Sectional 40 at Lapel and in both cases ended the Golden Bears’ season.
Tuesday night, Monroe Central gave defending champion and 4th ranked Frankton (21-3) all they wanted then some before succumbing by a final score of 72-64.
Turnovers plagued the Bears through the first 3 quarters, as they racked up 18 which led to over 20 points for the Eagles. Despite the turnovers, Frankton couldn’t shake MC.
The Bears were trying to slow things down as Frankton is a “get out and run team” that began defense of their state title after losing only 1 senior from a year ago and only having 2 seniors on this year’s squad.
Frankton posted a 13-8 lead after one quarter and after Israel Nash hit one of his patented quarter ending 3-point shots led 27-18 at the half.
MC outscored Frankton in the second half 46-45 and made no turnovers in the final eight minutes. When the Bears had to pick up the pace playing from behind, the Eagles showed their athleticism putting 28 on the board. The Bears had the deficit to 4 points a couple times in the second half, but Frankton would hit a three or get to the line where they had only missed 2 attempts thru the first three quarters. With the game tightly contested in the 4th quarter there were a combined 21 free throw attempts. The Bears outscored Frankton 52-51 from the field on the night.
Both teams shot well from the line where the Bears canned 80 percent (12-of-15) and the Eagles hit 72 percent (21-of-29).
Nash finished his MC career with a 42 point effort, including 5 three-pointers and 9-of-12 free throws.
The Bears hit 8 three’s on the night and gave the Eagles one of their closest games oft he year where most did not even give the Bears a chance.
Nick Mitchell scored 8, Lane Lewis scored 5, and with 3 apiece were Wyatt Snyder, Will Jones and Casey Conatser.
Nash finishes the season with 563 points which is 5th best in the state and probably puts him near the top of the best ever at MC. His career total is 1,559 which puts him 2nd all-time behind Matt Moulton at 1,824. Third place on the list is now a distant 226 points behind Nash.
The Bears finished the year at 11-11.