Thorson, Larson, Fender energize Rockets
TUSCOLA — Seventy points is enough to win a boys' basketball game on almost any night. Not Wednesday night, however.
Unity reached triple digits and defeated Monticello for the third time this season, 102-70.
With the victory, the top-seeded Rockets advanced to Friday's Class 2A regional championship game against St. Thomas More.
"All of us were thinking about this game all day at school. We were just ready to play — we wanted to beat them," Unity senior Taylor Black said.
The Rockets grabbed an early lead thanks to Black's hot shooting. The guard, who drained three three-pointers in the first half, helped Unity take a 30-23 lead after one quarter.
Rockets coach Bill Ipsen said his team had a few jitters, though.
"It was tight. We lost last year (in the) first round. There was some of that on their minds," he said. "But we kept our composure, and we shot the ball really well."
In the second quarter, Unity had three steals in 45 seconds to fuel an 8-0 run. Alex Thorson, who scored a game-high 27 points, drained a three just before halftime to put the Rockets ahead 57-32.
The Sages had no answer for Unity's offense after intermission. The Rockets took a 40-point lead early in the fourth quarter when Thorson passed behind his back to center Aaron Larson, who converted the layup.
Larson added 24 points and Austin Fender tallied 20 in the victory. Unity got 15 points from Black, who was slowed by an ankle injury.
Ryan Donohue led Monticello with 15 points. Matt Kruse and Nick Stokowski each scored 13.
The Rockets reached 100 points when Derek Hooker made a 16-foot jumper with three minutes left.
Ipsen laughed after the game when asked if his team had some offense left for Friday's championship.
"I hope so, but we also have to play defense every minute on Friday," he said.
The 102 points given up by Monticello tied the record for most points scored against the boys' team. The record was set by the 1977 Lawrenceville team in a Charleston Holiday Tournament game at Lantz Arena before the three-point line existed.
In Class 1A action
Chrisman 44, Tri-County 42. Ty Bolen scored 14 points and Chris Hoult 12 for the sixth-seeded hosts against the second-seeded Titans, who got 12 points apiece from Doug Findley and Wes Motley.
Arcola 48, Villa Grove 36. Brett Lindenmeyer scored a team-high 17 points for the top-seeded Purple Riders at Chrisman. Ryan Pearce paced the Blue Devils with 20 points.
Ridgeview 66, LeRoy 39. Dana Bose led three Mustangs in double figures with 20 points at LeRoy. Bryce Powell added 19 and Josh Weier 15 for top-seeded Ridgeview, which led 38-20 at halftime.
The Panthers were paced by Nolan Sammer (11 points) and Seth Ward (10 points).
Blue Ridge 44, Lexington 31. Michael Plunk scored a game-high 16 points, including 9 of 10 from the free throw line, for the third-seeded Knights at LeRoy.
Blue Ridge, which led 17-16 at halftime, received 14 points from Travys Nichols.
CPCI 63, Donovan 41. Alex Rabe scored 14 points to pace a balanced Timberwolves attack. Cole Hasselbring and Sterling Young each added 13 points for the top-seeded hosts.
Urbana Uni 47, Judah Christian 38. Simeon Washington scored 14 points and Tahar Bowen-Pinto 13 for the third-seeded Illineks at Armstrong.
Ethan Chitty had a team-high 13 points and 10 rebounds for the second-seeded Tribe, which trailed 25-15 at intermission. Krys McClure grabbed a team-high 11 boards in the loss.