116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — When the chips were down, Monticello leaned on its star power and a pair of big shots from its sixth man.
Pushed to the limit, the Panthers put the ball in the hands of Tate Peterson, who salted the game away. Preston Ries released a night’s worth of tension with an emphatic dunk as time expired and Monticello booked its third straight trip to the boys’ state basketball tournament by outlasting Williamsburg 50-43 in a Class 2A substate final Saturday night at Kennedy High School.
“Our kids just wanted it that bad, I think,” Monticello coach Tim Lambert said. “We lost a lot from last year’s team. These kids have been on a mission to prove that they can do it. They surprised a lot of people tonight.”
“Our regular-season games, we play in a tough conference (River Valley), we play hard in all those games,” Peterson said. “We just came out, kept our composure. We knew they would go on runs. We just stayed calm.”
Sixth-ranked Williamsburg (22-3), seeking its third trip to state, gave the seventh-ranked Panthers (21-3) all they could handle.
Monticello spent much of the night staring down a slim deficit. Peterson knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter as the teams were tied, 9-9.
The Raiders pulled ahead in the second. Derek Weisskopf was a load to handle in the paint as Williamsburg built a pair of five-point leads. A quick 5-0 spurt on the heels of a 3 from Will DeSmet and a Weisskopf layup gave the Raiders a 21-16 edge as they threatened to seize momentum.
As he did much of the night, Ries, a sophomore, responded with a traditional three-point play and Monticello entered the half trailing by just two.
“(Ries) is never scared of the moment,” Lambert said. “He’s one of the best athletes in the state. I just trust him doing it and I’m super proud of him.”
Held to just 19 points through two quarters, the Panthers began heating up in the third, but the Raiders always had an answer. Weisskopf and DeSmet each buried a 3 as the Raiders clung to a 36-33 lead.
Just six Panthers saw the floor. The sixth, Ian Temple, made his mark late in the third. Temple knocked down a corner 3 to tie the game.
Following a turnover, Monticello held for the last shot in the third. As Peterson drew in the defense, he kicked to a wide-open Temple, who drained another 3 as Monticello took a 39-36 lead to the fourth.
The Raiders scored the first two buckets of the final frame. It took the Panthers 4:40 to respond. Ries picked off a pass and took it the length of the court for a layup.
The Raiders missed a few opportunities at the other end. The Panthers turned to Peterson, who calmly stepped to the line and made seven of eight attempts.
“Just staying calm,” Peterson said of his mindset down the stretch. “Keeping my composure. I know all my teammates have my back. I just stepped up. They believe in me and I knocked them down.”
“We just get (Peterson) the ball late there and he makes plays,” Lambert said. “He makes good decisions. You just hope he makes those free throws to take you home and he did.”
Weisskopf connected on a 3, cutting the deficit to 46-43 with 14 seconds remaining, but Peterson returned to the line to sink two more. A steal and Ries’ dunk sent the Monticello crowd into a frenzy as the Panthers stormed the floor.
Peterson finished with 18 points. Ries added 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
WILLIAMSBURG (43): Jake Weber 2-5 1-3 5, Will DeSmet 4-6 0-0 10, Ethan Harman 1-2 0-0 2, Landon Jepson 0-1 2-2 2, Madox Doehrmann 1-2 0-0 3, Trey O’Neil 2-4 0-0 4, Derek Weisskopf 7-11 1-3 17, Gavin Doehrmann 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-32 4-8 43.
MONTICELLO (50): Caleb Sauser 0-2 0-0 0, Peyton Schilling 2-3 0-0 6, Tate Peterson 4-12 7-8 18, Preston Reis 7-12 3-3 17, Ian Temple 2-2 0-0 6, Trey Kuper 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 16-35 10-11 50.
Halftime – Williamsburg 21, Monticello 19. Three-point goals – Williamsburg 5-12 (Weber 0-1, DeSmet 2-2, Jepson 0-1, Madox Doehrmann 1-2, O’Neil 0-1, Weisskopf 2-5), Monticello 8-18 (Schilling 2-2, Peterson 3-8, Ries 0-3, Temple 2-2, Kuper 1-3). Rebounds – Williamsburg 18 (Weisskopf 9), Monticello 19 (Ries 10). Total fouls – Williamsburg 13, Monticello 13. Fouled out – None. Turnovers – Williamsburg 14, Monticello 13.