MONTICELLO — Teams that face the senior-driven Monticello Sages find themselves in a predicament. The Sages can win in so many different ways — by so many different players — that it’s difficult to game-plan against them.
On Friday against Shelbyville, it was Nick Stokowski’s turn to shine.
The junior forward had 21 points in a 53-37 win in the Sages’ Okaw Valley Conference opener.
The Sages were consistent on both ends, limiting the Rams (4-3, 1-1 Okaw Valley) to 23 points and building a 17-point lead after three quarters.
“We’ve had times in past games where we’ve clicked — certain spots, certain quarters — but this is the first game we’ve actually clicked the entire game,” Stokowski said.
Monticello big man Matt Kruse had 14 points and nine rebounds. Forward Bryan Phipps added six points down low for the Sages.
“You have to take advantage of the mismatches, and we had a few of those,” Stokowski said.
Ryan Donohue added eight points for Monticello, and Isaac Bales finished with four points.
The 16-point conference win sends a message to the Okaw that the Sages are serious contenders for the conference title despite a few close calls early in the season.
“I haven’t been pleased with our effort, and I haven’t been pleased with our play until tonight,” Monticello coach Kevin Roy said. “I was pleased with spurts at Auburn (a 67-52 win), but tonight I felt like we really had a complete game from everybody on the team who came in.”