Story by Kadin Rogers.
(EDGINGTON, IL) The Monmouth-Roseville Titans boys basketball team returned to the court last night, this time on the road to take on the Rockridge Rockets. The M-R boys had just recently met up with Rockridge back on the 26th, falling at home 54-26. Monmouth-Roseville would fair much better in this one, but in the end the Titans would fall to the state ranked Rockets 42-37.
Titans senior Jake Steele would open the game for Monmouth-Roseville with two free throws, and Ayden Almaguer scored on an inside shot to give the Titans the first lead of the game at 4-0. Rockets senior Caleb Cunico responded right away with a three for Rockridge to cut into the early lead. Rockridge’s Landon Bull and Titans senior Nico Avendano would trade layups to put the Titans lead at 6-5. In the back half of the first quarter, Rockridge took advantage of some Titans turnovers to take back the lead at 10-6, however Steele and Almaguer would knock down two consecutive threes to give the Titans the 12-10 lead after the first 8 minutes of play.
The second quarter of play was a defensive battle in the first half of the quarter, with the only points of the first 4 minutes coming on a free throw from Titans senior Darrion Smith. After Rockridge tied the game at 13-13, Payton Thompson got in the scoring column on a reverse layup for Monmouth-Roseville, then to end the half Thompson knocked down one of two free throws to bring the halftime score to 17-16 in favor of the Rockets. Rockridge extended their lead right out of the halftime break, but that lead would be tied up by a Nico Avendano three pointer. With three minutes to go in the quarter trailing 23-20, Avendano hit another one from beyond the arc to tie the game up at 23 all. Before the minute mark in the third, Avendano and Almaguer would trade buckets with Carson Klemme and Caleb Cunico as Rockridge took back a 28-27 lead. That score would hold into the final 8 minutes of play.
To open the fourth quarter, Tyler Finnicum and Darrion Smith poured in points with Rockridge responding to keep the game tied up at 31-31. With the Rockets leading 33-31, Cunico knocked down a three to extend the Rockridge lead to 5 points. In a big response, Tyler Finnicum hit a wide open shot from beyond the arc to cut the lead right back down to 2. With under a minute to play, Cunico stretch the Rockets lead with two free throws, before Ayden Almaguer hit a huge three to bring the Rockets lead down to 38-37 with 34 seconds to play. After a Landon Wilson dunk and free throws from Rockridge, the final possession for the would not net any points, as Monmouth-Roseville fell short by the final score of 42-37.
In the stat book for the Titans, Ayden Almaguer led the way with 12 points while Nico Avendano added 11. The loss for Monmouth-Roseville drops their overall record to 13-12, as the Titans will look to rebound on Friday night, with another road Three Rivers Conference West Division matchup with the Morrison Mustangs.