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Monroe defends its court, wins two titles
Times photo: Adam Krebs Monroes Tyler Barta puts up a shot against Columbus during the fourth annual Monroe Summer Shootout basketball tournament. The Cheesemakers won the title.
MONROE - The Cheesemakers won both the varsity and junior varsity titles over the weekend at the fourth annual Monroe Boys Summer Shootout basketball tournament.

"We had really good refs, a lot of people helping out, and good teams," said Monroe head coach Pat Murphy, who organized the event. "The goal was to have a good tournament where we could simulate a regular season game and I think we accomplished that."

Monroe's varsity team rolled through its initial bracket Sunday, topping Black Hawk and Columbus by over 15 points each. In the single-elimination bracket, Monroe dominated Evansville and Reedsburg before pounding Mount Horeb, 50-38, in the finals.

"They're all on the same page. When they understand the movement of the offense and the defense, it's very easy to work with the kids," said Jerry Tordoff, who coached Monroe's team Sunday. "They came to play today and it was a lot of fun. You always want to defend your home turn, too, so it was big in the pride factor (that we won)."

Murphy has only one contact day left this offseason. Tordoff said because of the Thursday night summer league many of Monroe's players participate in, the team has developed a familiarity that has allowed them to play at or near full-strength despite baseball, football, work and other commitments students hold in the summer.

"It was a little crazy. A lot of the guys had commitments today and in the summer time that's the way it is. Between baseball and jobs and then to come back and play, the kids all played hard and stuck together," Tordoff said. "I think at this point in the summer, these guys are a little ahead of where other teams are as far as coming together and playing solid defense and sharing the ball."

Senior Michael Barrett took control of the offense for most of the day's games for the Cheesemakers. But when Monroe became deadlocked with Mount Horeb late in the first half, it was fellow senior Bryan Tordoff who found his stroke.

"Early in the day he was a little affected from his long trip, but by the end he did a real nice job and hit some big shots for us," Jerry Tordoff said. "Everybody really played strong and stepped up. They played aggressive defense and they're continuing that Monroe tradition of defense first and rebounding. They were finding the open man and not forcing shots. I thought they did a really nice job of playing together."

Bryan Tordoff returned from a 21-hour church road trip from North Carolina, and hit three consecutive 3-pointers to put the Cheesemakers up double digits on the Vikings. Alex Dahlk injured his right ankle in the first half of the championship, which Tordoff said he was disappointed to see, considering how well Dahlk had played up to that point.

"He had been having a good day. Hopefully he can bounce back and be ready again in the next week or so," Tordoff said. Mount Horeb knocked Monroe out of the WIAA playoffs in the regional finals in March.

Mount Horeb knocked off Brodhead in the semifinals by four points and Darlington in the quarterfinals in overtime. The Vikings also ended the Cardinals' regular season in the WIAA Division 2 playoffs in March.

New Glarus, Juda, Black Hawk, Argyle, Monticello, Pecatonica and Orangeville also competed in the 24-team tournament over the weekend.

Monroe's JV team held off Waunakee in the Saturday's title game.

"For our varsity and JVs to win, it just makes it that much better for us. It was really fun," said Murphy, who admitted he couldn't remember if the two squads had ever finished on top together. "Hopefully it's a good step headed into July. We don't have a lot of time to work on our game because football is right around the corner. We like to take advantage of every day we get."