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Monroe crushes Brodhead
Monroes Desmond Ford sinks a jump shot during the first quarter of a home game against Brodhead Monday. Monroe defeated Brodhead 69-45. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
MONROE - Junior Ben Latimer played with a nasty streak and dominated from the opening tip as Monroe rolled to a 69-45 non-conference win over Brodhead Monday.

Monroe (1-2) dominated every phase of the game. The Cheesemakers out-rebounded the Cardinals 42-14. Monroe senior Desmond Ford scored a team-high 15 points and was one of four players in double figures. Latimer, at 6-foot-6, had his way down low posting a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds including six offensive rebounds. Sophomore teammate Alex Tordoff scored 12 points and had six rebounds and senior Logan Weckerly added 10 points.

"We tried to be a lot tougher than we have been," Latimer said. "We executed and I think people went for the boards and were more aggressive. That is why the score ended up the way it did."

The Cheesemakers broke the game open with a 15-0 run in the first quarter. The spurt was sparked by a layup from senior Kevin Noriega and a jumper by Ford. Tordoff drilled a 3-pointer and hit a jumper. Weckerly then scored down low with 3 minutes, 47 seconds to go in the first quarter to give the Cheesemakers a 13-3 lead. The Cheesemakers shot 68 percent in the first half (17 of 25) and finished the game at 50 percent (26 of 52).

"People were not hesitating with their shots," Latimer said. "People did what they know how to do."

Tordoff credits Latimer for setting the tone with his offensive rebounding.

"I think Ben is an important key to our team," Tordoff said. "He uses his size to muscle it up and he usually gets an and-one."

The Cardinals (0-1) shot 33 percent in the first half (8 of 24) and got a big start from junior Ned Slocum, who scored 11 of his 12 points in the first half. The Cheesemakers led by as many as 29 points. Weckerly knocked down a 3-pointer before the buzzer at the end of the second quarter to give the Cheesemakers a 49-22 lead at the half.

"You have to give credit to the Monroe kids," Brodhead coach Nick Jarvis said. "We had hands in their faces and they just shot lights out."

Latimer grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a putback early in the third quarter and that helped set the tone in the second half. Brodhead senior Josiah DeLorme scored a game-high 16 points and made four 3-pointers. DeLorme scored 11 points in the third quarter and helped the Cardinals whittle a one-time 29-point Cheesemakers' lead down to 20 points.

Slocum, the Cardinals' leading scorer from last year, was shut down in the second half.

"You could tell they were trying to shut him down," Jarvis said. "They put Ford on him. We would have liked to get more shots for Ned. We tried to run a balanced offense. We had good looks. We just didn't put them down."

Improving team defense is an area the Cheesemakers are targeting.

"My focus was, how do we defend them," Monroe coach Pat Murphy said. "Our focus is to get better with our defensive rotations, stay in front of guys and take some charges. A lot of people don't look at that (taking charges), but I look at that.

"I thought our guys were unselfish on the offensive end and we are getting better on the defensive end."

Jarvis likes the way the Cardinals battled back in the third quarter when DeLorme got hot shooting from the outside.

"He (DeLorme) was kind of a spark for us in the third quarter," Jarvis said. "When he gets hot he's a tough guy to guard."

Murphy commended the Monroe student section and Brodhead for continuing to schedule the non-conference game between neighboring schools.

"I really appreciate the students supporting their classmates," Murphy said. "We had a nice crowd here on a Monday night. That really is a home-court advantage for us."

Monroe will play its first Badger South Conference game at Fort Atkinson on Friday. Tordoff is eager to get back on the court.

"The very first conference game is the most important," he said. "To get off to a good start makes other teams look at us and take us as a threat."