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Monroe crushes Clinton
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MONROE - Senior Sydney Mathiason scored a game-high 22 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the Monroe High School girls basketball team to a 64-39 nonconference win over Clinton on Monday.

Before the game, Clinton players gave each one of the Monroe players a flower. Both teams joined hands and raised their arms at halfcourt during a moment of silence along with the crowd in honor of the three Monroe teenagers who died after a tragic car accident Friday.

"It was a really nice touch," Monroe coach Sam Mathiason said. "Clinton presented a lot of class in that gesture."

The Cheesemakers opened the game with a 13-1 run. Mathiason, senior Lexi Hilliard and sophomore Emily Benzschawel each knocked down 3-pointers during the surge. Monroe led at the half 33-12. Monroe (17-2), ranked seventh in the Associated Press Division 2 state poll, hit five of its eight 3-pointers in the first half.

"It's nice to see us be able to knock down some outside shots," Sam Mathiason said. "Any time you can do that you kind of break the ice. We had really balanced scoring in the first half. It's part of their growth and effort they put forth."

Sophomore Sydney Hilliard added 12 points, and senior Lexi Hilliard drilled three 3-pointers for nine points. Senior Jordan Hirsbrunner chipped in eight points.

Mathiason was encouraged by the Cheesemakers' defensive performance in the first half.

"I just thought defensively keeping them to 12 points, we did a really nice job," he said. "That was the key."

The Cheesemakers can claim the Badger South Conference championship outright if they beat Madison Edgewood on Thursday on the road. If the Crusaders top the Cheesemakers, there could be a three-way tie for the conference title with Monroe, Stoughton and Edgewood.

It will be Monroe's final regular-season game before the regional tournament starts next week. As the second seed, Monroe has a bye Feb. 21. The Cheesemakers will play the winner of Portage and Oregon in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in Monroe.