By: Jared Hines
They call it March Madness for a reason.
On Friday night, the No. 7 seeded Monticello Magic boys basketball team traveled to No. 2 St. Francis in the Section 5AAA Quarterfinal. They had played St. Francis twice in the regular season, losing in the season opener before avenging that loss on Feb. 11 with a 64-53 win.
The third meeting belonged to the Magic, escaping with a 61-60 win and surviving and advancing to the Section 5AAA Semifinals.
Monticello and St. Francis went back and forth in the first half with neither team being able to establish much of a lead. The Magic lead by five with 10:58 left to play but the lead stayed around the same the rest of the half, falling to three points at halftime with a 34-31 score. Senior Calvin Schmitz led the Magic with 11 points at the halftime break.
The second game momentum swung to the Saints side where St. Francis took a 48-45 lead with 9:43 left to play and continued to lead as the clock slowly ticked down. With 4:42 the Saints led 57-54 and continued to lead until Schmitz hit a huge 3-point shot with 2:17 remaining to put the Magic up 59-57. The teams exchanged points, leading to a 61-60 Magic lead with 28 seconds left. St. Francis was able to retain possession with one last chance to send the Magic home and end their season. The Saints inbounded the ball which was fumbled before finally getting off a shot at the final buzzer that hit the back of the rim and bounced out. The Magic bench cleared to celebrate with their teammates on the court that had just completed the upset.
The Magic (6-13) will travel to No. 3 Rocori (8-11) on March 23 for a chance at advancing to the Section 5AAA Final on March 26th. The Spartans and Magic played on Feb. 16 with Rocori leaving Monticello High School with a 57-55 win. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m.
Great win boys!
W. Sawatzke: 10