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Defense leads Cheese to history
Drew Armstrong puts up a jump shot in the fourth quarter.
MONROE - Everything was working for the home team on Senior Night.

Ten Cheesemakers scored, led by senior Kevin Frint's career-high 22 points, and Monroe held Fort Atkinson to just four field goals in Friday's 48-16 win.

"To send those three seniors out of here tonight with a win is what we wanted, and I was especially proud of the fact that when we got the other guys in the game they went out and made plays," Monroe head coach Pat Murphy said.

Perhaps even bigger was that Madison Edgewood (13-8, 9-3) lost to Oregon (5-15, 4-7) by 10 points, giving the Cheesemakers at least a share of the Badger South title for a record fourth consecutive season. Waunakee also won the Badger North for the fourth straight time this season.

"It feels awesome," assistant coach Brian Bassett said. "Our guys were very jacked."

Frint dominated from the start, scoring seven points in the first quarter, seven in the second and eight in the third, totaling nine field goals.

"Every time I'm around him (Frint), he gets a little more comfortable. And that's exciting to see him take advantage of those opportunities," Murphy said of his 6-foot, 7-inch center.

Fort Atkinson (2-18, 0-10) had no answer for Monroe's resident big man, as the lane was taken up on both ends of the court.

"We played really good defense tonight," Frint said. "Senior Night was a big deal for us. We got everyone in. We wanted that conference title for the fourth year in a row."

The Blackhawks had just a single field goal in the first half and trailed 24-9 at the break. Monroe's offense continued to work for the open basket, passing the rock around the world continuously throughout the game. The defense was stingy, as well.

"We need to come out with that kind of intensity more often," senior guard Alex Capesius said. "We went through a stretch early this season where we gave up a lot of points. We need to get back to that good old Monroe defense."

Freshman Alex Barenklau found himself in a shooting role early on. With junior sharpshooter Bryan Tordoff still sidelined, Barenklau finished with eight points, including two 3s.

"I was pretty excited," he said. "Senior night, conference game, Keith Burington is here. It was pretty fun."

In the second half, the bench emptied and filled up the scoreboard.

"They (our bench) really played tough," senior forward Kyle Klinzing said. "They came out and worked hard."

Monroe (14-7, 9-2) hosts its last regular season game Monday night against non-conference foe Darlington (18-2, 12-1). The Cheesemakers will know their regional seed that night, which likely will be a No. 1 and include a first-round playoff bye.

"We've got to keep on going and get better every day," Klinzing said.

A win Friday, Feb. 26, over Monona Grove (11-9, 6-4) will give Monroe the outright Badger South title.

"Hopefully our guys aren't happy with being co-champs and go out and get it for themselves Friday," Bassett said.