MONTICELLO – Accurate free throw shooting appears to be a lost art among many high school and college basketball players.
That wasn't the case, however, for Monticello on Saturday as the Sages converted 12 of 14 to stave off Tuscola 47-46 in the boys' championship game at the Holiday Tournament.
Reserve Jacob Kissaw and starter Neal Phelps each hit a pair of clutch free throws in the waning seconds to win a game that featured 12 lead changes and three ties.
At the Leader Classic earlier this month, Monticello beat Tuscola 69-34.
"That wasn't the same team we beat in the Leader Classic," said Monticello coach Kevin Roy after the Sages won their own tournament for the first time since 1998. "They are just getting their players back from football, and they are in much better playing condition.
"They did a great job defensively. We were trying to speed up the game, but they wouldn't let us. Our free throws were big down the stretch. We've been doing that the last few games. Jacob (Kissaw) is a diamond in the rough. He's improving by leaps and bounds."
Corbin Sebens led the Sages with 15 points that included a 7-for-8 effort from the foul line. Nathan Swarts contributed 13 points and nine rebounds for Monticello (9-3).
John Wienke, who had seven rebounds, was 8 of 12 from the field and led the Warriors with 16 points.
"We've all been shooting free throws pretty well this year," Sebens said. "We know we have to knock them down to win. I get fouled a lot. People know I can shoot. I've been driving and getting fouled when they come out on me. We wanted to get out and go more than we did rather than play their game."
In the fourth-place game, St. Thomas More beat Blue Ridge 58-49 behind Justin Koerner's 15 points, Tyler Schweighart had 13 and Zack Johnson 10 for the Sabers. Josh Lytel had 16 points and Tallon Hildreth 15 for the Knights.