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Tordoff torches Clinton
Times photo: Anthony Wahl Bryan Tordoff scores one of his 8 three-pointers during Monroes non-conference game with Clinton Tuesday night. Monroe defeated Clinton 61-49.
MONROE - Monroe senior Bryan Tordoff had a game that many basketball players dream about.

Tordoff was dialed in and he torched the Cougars scoring a game-high 32 points including eight 3-pointers to lift the Cheesemakers to a 61-49 comeback win.

"I guess I was just feeling it," Tordoff said. "You always have to think you will have a big game no matter what. It kind of all started when guys started setting good screens for me. I'm just glad my teammates gave me the ball and trusted me enough to hit those clutch shots."

Monroe (10-0, 5-0 Badger South), ranked second in the Associated Press Division 2 state poll, trailed by as many as nine points in the first half. The Cheesemakers went on a 21-5 run that spanned from the third quarter into the fourth. The run was highlighted by Tordoff hitting two 3-pointers including one at the end of the third quarter to give the Cheesemakers a 45-39 lead.

Tordoff scored eight straight points to open the fourth quarter and his 3-pointer from the top of the key with 5 minutes, 46 seconds left gave the Cheesemakers an insurmountable 53-39 lead.

"We shouldn't have needed it, I know that," Monroe coach Pat Murphy said referencing Tordoff's big game. "Our guys did a great job of setting screens for him. We didn't have a lot of guys after him."

Clinton (8-2, 5-1 Rock Valley South), which features three players in its starting lineup at 6-feet, 4-inches or taller, jumped out to a 9-2 lead on the heels of some strong post play. When the Cheesemakers went to double team Justin Langley down low, he found junior Chandler Stevenson who buried a 3-pointer with 2:47 left in the first quarter to give the Cougars a 14-5 lead. The Cheesemakers shot just 1 of 11 the first 4 minutes of the game.

"The only thing that went through my mind is we were not ready to play," Monroe senior Michael Barrett said, who scored 12 points and had six rebounds. "I could have come out and started the game better. We could have started the game with more fire. I knew once we picked it up, we would be all right."

Tordoff started heating up in the second quarter. He knocked down a 3-pointer to slice the Cougars' lead to 19-17 with 5:27 left in the period. Monroe senior Damian Penniston scored down low to tie the game at 19 with 4:32 to go. Fellow senior Andrew Armstrong later scored down low and gave the Cheesemakers a 23-21 lead. The Cougars answered when Stevenson hit his third 3-pointer of the first half with 1:47 left to give the Cougars a 28-23 lead. Tordoff hit two 3-pointers in the final 1:30 of the second quarter to help pull the Cheesemakers within one point, 30-29 at halftime.

Monroe didn't shoot great in the first half (11-for-31), but the Cheesemakers grabbed 10 offensive rebounds that led to some second-chance scoring opportunities.

"We were disappointed in how we started early in the game," Murphy said. "We do shoot every day in practice, but it didn't show tonight. We still have to make plays. We still have a lot of work to do. I thought Clinton ran their offensive and defensive stuff better than we ran our offensive and defensive stuff."

The Cheesemakers also switched to a press at times to speed up the tempo since the Cougars were playing without senior starting guard Aaron Roth, who was out with an injury. Armstrong and sophomore Alex Barenklau each added six points.

Clinton senior Ross Oldenburg scored a team-high 12 points to lead the Cougars. Stevenson scored nine of his 10 points in the first half.

Murphy said the Cheesemakers are going to get every team's best play every game.

"We got their best," he said of the Cougars. "I was hoping we would step up and accept the challenge. We expect better from this team."