TOLONO — Ryan Donohue made his first shot, then stepped out and hit a three. It was after the 6-foot-2 senior buried his second trey of the game’s first two minutes that Donohue thought it might just be his turn to lead the Sages to another victory.
Donohue scored Monticello’s first eight points and finished with a game-high 23 in a 58-53 victory against Riverton at the BSN Shootout at Unity High School on Saturday.
“I just felt loose and warmed up before the game,” Donohue said. “Sometimes you have those days.”
Monticello (12-1) needed another scoring option as Riverton (10-1) focused its defensive attention on high-scoring guard Nick Stokowski. The powerful junior still managed 13 points, but it was Donohue who wanted the ball in his hands late, sealing the game with three free throws in the final minute.
“They were shutting down (Nick) so I just had to step up,” Donohue said.
Saturday’s battle with the Springfield-area Hawks was dubbed a “statement game” by the Sages. Donohue and his teammates wanted to send a message “state-wide, not just local” that Monticello won’t back down from any team in Illinois.
“Coach (Kevin Roy) told us before the game to make this a statement game,” Donohue said. “It was a big game and he really wanted us to win it.”
Riverton’s Mitchell Patterson and Braxton LaDew did their best to halt Monticello’s quest for state-wide recognition. The two 6-foot-5 forwards offered the season’s best matchup with the Sages’ Bryan Phipps (6-8) and Matt Kruse (6-8), and brought completely different skill sets to keep Monticello off balance defensively.
Kruse had 12 points.
“Everyone on our team has a chance to step up every game,” Donohue said. “Everyone’s equally talented on this team. Any given day, anyone can go off.”
Tri-Valley 68, Watseka 54. Daulton DePatis scored 16 points and Austin Hasselbring grabbed 20 rebounds for the Warriors.
Decatur Christian 73, Tuscola 72. Tournament MVP Michael Houran had 30 points in the win. Dustin Haake led Tuscola with 24 points.
Unity 56, Riverdale 52. The Rockets limited Riverdale to 17 first-half points and then survived a Rams rally to win. Mitch Negangard scored 14 points. Matt Restad and Justin Deters added 12 points apiece.
St. Joseph-Ogden 74, Casey-Westfield 51. The Spartans rolled to victory in the Shootout finale. Brent Schluter scored 28 points — 14 in each half — for SJ-O. Chase Patton, who sank three of the Spartans’ six three-pointers, added 18 points.