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Monroe rolls over Milton
Monroe senior Carter Sawdey goes up for a layup against Milton during Thursdays game at the high school. Sawdey scored a game-high 21 points. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - Senior Carter Sawdey made sure the Monroe High School boys basketball team's final regular-season performance on their home floor on Senior Night would not end in a fifth straight loss.

Sawdey scored 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to help spark Monroe to a 69-47 win over Milton Thursday. Monroe (10-12, 5-7 Badger South) snapped a four-game losing streak.

The Cheesemakers broke the game open with a 26-13 run over the final 9 minutes to seal the win. Monroe senior Alex Tordoff and Sawdey each had three-point plays during the surge to extend the Cheesemakers' lead to 55-42 with 3:37 left. Sawdey had a second three-point play moments later that extended the Cheesemakers' lead to 57-42 with 3 minutes to go.

"We really picked up our pressure in the second half," Sawdey said. "I think that caused some turnovers and made them play a little too fast."

The Cheesemakers will look to build a winning streak when they host Oregon in a WIAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal game Tuesday.

"It was a great start," Sawdey said of the Cheesemakers building some momentum and consistency with the win over the Red Hawks. "We just have to keep our momentum going.

It was the tale of two halves shooting for both teams. The Red Hawks shot 50 percent in the first half, but the Cheesemakers' limited them to just 26.3 percent shooting in the second half (5 of 19). The Cheesemakers raced out to a 10-4 lead in the first half and then went cold. Monroe shot 33.3 percent in the first half but carried a 23-22 lead into the half after senior Tyler Elmer was fouled before the buzzer and made 1 of 2 free throws. The Cheesemakers turned the tables on the Red Hawks in the second half, shooting 46.8 percent. The Cheesemakers finished the game shooting 40.6 percent (24 of 59) and the Red Hawks finished at 37.1 percent for the game (13 of 35).

Monroe coach Brian Bassett was proud of the Cheesemakers' defensive performance.

"You have to be able to stop people because you will just not be able to outscore them in the postseason," Bassett said. "I think it was good because Milton likes to slow it down and run a lot of screens in the halfcourt like Oregon does."

The Cheesemakers started out hot in the second half knocking down their first four shots. Monroe junior Brayden Zettle scored on a layup and then senior Dylan Beaver drilled a jumper. Sawdey then scored on a layup to give the Cheesemakers a 29-22 lead. The Red Hawks stayed within striking distance in large part due to junior Mark Bowditch, who scored all 15 of his points in the second half. Bowditch hit three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer to cut the Cheesemakers' lead to 29-27.

The Cheesemakers had 13 offensive rebounds in the game.

Elmer added nine points, and Tordoff scored eight points and had eight rebounds, including four on the offensive end. Zettle chipped in seven points, and junior Mitch Bartelt and sophomore Nick Schumacher each added six points.

"Getting those offensive rebounds gave us second-chance opportunities for layups," Sawdey said.

Bassett has stressed offensive rebounding to his players all season. He enjoyed the results the Cheesemakers put up against the Red Hawks.

"The thing is, people if they are grabbing offensive rebounds they will play," he said. "I thought we did a really good job on the offensive glass getting a lot of offensive rebounds tonight."

Tordoff likes the Cheesemakers' chances of continuing their solid play.

"This win will help us in getting the momentum and trying to keep it into the playoffs and get a win in the first round," Tordoff said.

Tordoff understands his senior season is drawing to a close, and he doesn't want it to end. He sees a way Monroe can get on a roll in the tournament.

"We just have to keep doing the little things - rebounding, making free throws and playing with max effort," Tordoff said. "Hitting free throws is a major key in determining who wins games in the playoffs."