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Summer Shootout heats up
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MONROE - A town renowned for its cheese will turn into a basketball kingdom this weekend with 48 teams scheduled to play in the fourth annual Monroe Summer Shootout.

Monroe will have two teams in a 24-team junior varsity tournament in gyms at the high school and middle school. The Monroe Red JV team will play Argyle at 8 a.m. Saturday and Columbus at noon in pool play at the high school. The Monroe White team will play Darlington at 8 a.m. and Pecatonica at noon at the high school.

The Monroe Summer Shootout will have a 24-team varsity tournament Sunday. Monroe will play Black Hawk at 8 a.m. Sunday and Columbus at noon in pool play at the high school.

"We have 20 kids who we consider varsity prospects," Monroe coach Pat Murphy said. "The summer gives them a chance to separate themselves. We just hope they get better. For our JV and varsity teams we want them to treat it like it's a regular season game. We want to make it as realistic as we can."

Murphy has used four of his five summer contact days and will leave coaching duties to Joe Monroe and Jake Grinnell. High school basketball coaches are only allowed a certain number of days under WIAA rules to have instructional time with their players.

"The summer is a chance to give a lot of kids playing time in different situations to see how they react," Murphy said.

After two games of pool play, teams will be divided into No. 1-, 2- and 3-seed eight-team tournament brackets. Basketball games will start at 8 a.m. and continue all day with the championship game at 7 p.m. both days.

The unique format of the tournament where teams are divided into eight-team brackets after pool play is an advantage for some schools.

"Whatever tournament you get into, you are playing teams about your same ability," Murphy said. "Those games get pretty intense."

Hononegah won the varsity Monroe Summer Shootout last year and Freeport won the JV title.

Murphy said there will be new champions since Hononegah and Freeport didn't return this year. Some of the local teams scheduled to play in the tournament include Brodhead, New Glarus, Darlington, Juda, Black Hawk and Orangeville.

All day tickets are $3 for adults and $1 for children 10 and younger.

"Every year you get new teams," Murphy said.