116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — He knew. They knew.
Everyone else knows by now. Monticello has another really good boys’ basketball team.
“It’s been good, been fun,” said Coach Tim Lambert, whose team beat Iowa City Regina, 63-51, Saturday afternoon at Coe College’s Kohawk Arena as part of the Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout. “A lot of people doubted us. But I knew what we had coming, and I knew what they do in the offseason.”
Monticello has become a “program,” a good one that does the stereotypical reloading instead of rebuilding. The Panthers made it to the state tournament in 2021 and 2020, ending a 60-year drought for the school.
They moved up a class to 3A last season, which made the return trip to Des Moines more impressive. They’re back down to 2A this season but still winning all the time, improving here to 11-0 and increasing their regular-season win streak to 39.
And doing it all without four graduated starters who were the cornerstones of what has turned out to be the beginning of quite an apparent run.
“I expected this,” said point guard Tate Petersen, the only returning starter from 2020 and 2021. “It’s kind of a testimony to our program, I’d say. This is what we’ve built through the years. Everyone has bought in. During the summer, we were all working out together, so our chemistry is pretty good.”
Petersen’s role has changed from distributor to distributor and scorer. He came in averaging 19 points a game and had 20 in this game.
Sophomore Preston Ries (21 points) is right behind him, averaging 18.1 points per game coming into Saturday. A super athlete, he is being recruited already by major college football programs.
“We have defended better than I thought we would,” Lambert said. “We share it, they are figuring it out. It’s hard when you not only have a bunch of new guys, but Tate’s role is way different, Preston’s role is way different. So it takes time to bring that together. But offensively it gets better every time, and our defense has been pretty good.”
Monticello plays Camanche and Mid-Prairie next week in River Valley Conference action. The three teams go into next week all undefeated.
“I think we’ve kept our composure,” Petersen said. “Obviously we have gone through some tough stretches in games, and that will happen with a young team that’s inexperienced. But we’ve just kept our composure and stayed strong and fought through those.”
Seven games were played Saturday. In one of the marquee matchups, Dunkerton used a 20-0 run in the second and third quarters to down Alburnett, 50-38.
Preston Gillespie had 15 points to lead the Raiders (10-1), whose only loss has been by a point to Class 2A Denver. Dunkerton is a 1A school.
Point guard Casey Gardner added 13 points and seven assists. Both he and Gillespie are juniors.
Alburnett (7-3) got a team-high 13 points from forward Andrew Ossman. The Pirates were coming off a big victory Friday night over unbeaten Edgewood-Colesburg, in which they rallied from 18 points down to win 51-50.
Fellow Tri-Rivers Conference member Central City picked up a 70-44 win over Columbus Community. Central City (3-9), which won just once last season, got a game-high 24 points from sophomore Aiden Klostermann.
His freshman brother, Matthew, added 18. Daniel Martinez led Columbus Community (3-8) with 18 points.
Cole McDermott’s 18 points led Cascade past Durant, 60-44. Gavin Manternach added 14 points for the Cougars (4-8), who have won three of their last four.
Garrett Hollenback had 16 points to lead Durant (2-8).
Brady Mullen didn’t take a shot until overtime, but he hoisted and made a couple of big ones to help Solon brush past Fairfield, 50-44. Mullen’s 3 with 2:30 left in the extra period gave Solon a lead it didn’t relinquish.
He then hit a two-point jumper for a two-score Spartans edge. Jake Benzing had 17 points to lead Solon (7-4), including a jumper with nine seconds left in regulation that sent the game to OT. Max Weaton had 23 points and 16 rebounds for Fairfield (3-6).
Washington (Iowa) picked up an impressive 77-68 win over Ballard. The Demons (8-1) got 19 points apiece from Lucas Kroll and Travis Leyden to beat a team that lost in last year’s 3A championship game and had leading scorer Ashton Hermann returning.
Hermann came in averaging a cool 28 points a game and had 33 here for Ballard (8-3). Washington’s lone loss has been to unbeaten Fort Madison.
Iowa City Liberty and Linn-Mar finished off the event Saturday night with Liberty posting a 49-36 victory. Da’Shon Fisher had 19 points for the Lightning (2-6).
Linn-Mar, which played without starting guard Jaxson Young, dropped to 5-3.