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Monroe clinches share of Rock Valley Conference
Bassett drops 15 pts from downtown
Monroe’s Logan Taylor (10) scores around Delavan-Darien’s Conner Wallman (44) in a Rock Valley Conference game on Monday, Feb. 19. The Cheesemakers’ 66-44 win secured at least a share of the league title. - photo by Natalie Dillon

MONROE — With its 66-44 win over Delavan-Darien on Monday, Feb. 19, Monroe clinched at least a share of the Rock Valley-Valley Conference title. The Cheesemakers can clinch the championship outright with a victory over East Troy on Thursday, Feb. 22.

“Being a senior, it feels good to put our number up there (on the wall),” Brandon Bassett said of the team’s conference championship in the first year of the Rock Valley.

The Cheesemakers found themselves in an early hole, 6-4, but Ryan Mathiason tied the game on a pick-and-roll with Logan Taylor. From that point on, it was all Monroe. Taylor got another screen from Mathiason for two points, and, moments later, Marcus Ott and Josh Meyer completed a pick-and-roll play. Taylor then made a quick pass along the arc to Ott for the three and a 13-6 lead. 

Monroe exploited Delavan-Darien’s 2-3 zone to build its lead to double digits. Kaden Kuester got the ball in the short corner, drawing two defenders, which left Mekhi Brown wide-open under the basket for two. 

“Our team did an amazing job today, especially with the 2-3,” Bassett said. “Our job there is to move the ball around, and we executed it right down to the game plan. It showed.”

Bassett then gave Monroe a 10-point lead midway through the first half with his first of five 3-pointers.

Even though Delavan-Darien’s Camron Lumkes ended the frame going 2-for-2 from the free-throw line, the Cheesemakers still led 29-19 going into the locker room.

James Seagreaves began the second half with a statement. Taylor and Bassett trapped Caden Duckworth just after halfcourt, and Seagreaves stole Duckworth’s pass intended for Neil Janssen, taking it down the floor for a reverse dunk. He added two more points on an inbounds play moments later.

With a 7-point run, the Cheesemaker lead reached 20 points. Out of the Comet timeout, Mekhi Brown got a skip pass from Mathiason and drained a 3-pointer. On the opposite end of the floor, Brown stole the ball and pushed it up the court to Taylor for two. Seagreaves’s baseline drive put Monroe ahead 43-23.

With just over two minutes left in the game, the Cheesemakers took their largest lead at 66-39. The rally began with back-to-back threes from Bassett. The Comets were late on a close out, giving Bassett a wide-open look for his first bucket. Delavan-Darien still couldn’t figure Bassett out after a timeout, as he drained a deep three for a 60-37 edge.

“It’s been an up and down season,” Bassett said of his personal performances. “I’ve been holding myself to high standards, but today I took a deep breath, relaxed and let the game come to me. I was really feeling it.”

Moments later, Brown fed Mathiason for two. Seagreaves then drew a shooting foul on Hunter Childers, making both of his free throws. Kuester capped the run with a baseline drive for two.

Both teams’ subs played the remaining two minutes.

Monroe finished shooting 55% from the field, 40% from beyond the arc and 60% from the line. Nine different players scored — thanks to unselfish play — with Bassett and Seagreaves leading the squad. Bassett dropped 15 points, all from beyond the arc. Seagreaves tallied 15 points with six rebounds, three deflections and three steals. 

The Cheesemakers recorded 21 assists, led by Brown with six. Taylor and Ott chipped in four each, while Mathiason tallied three. 

Monroe finished its regular and conference seasons with a game against East Troy on Thursday, Feb. 22. Results from that game will be printed in the Wednesday, Feb. 28 edition of the Monroe Times. The Cheesemakers received a No. 4 seed in the WIAA tournament and will host in a regional semifinal game against Monona Grove on Friday, March 1.