Monroe boys get back to state
The smallest kid on the floor came up with the biggest rebound of the season for Monroe High School’s boys basketball team.
Not that anyone was surprised that 5-foot, 9-inch Mitch McArdle came out with the ball underneath the Madison Edgewood basket in the final seconds of a tense WIAA Division 2 sectional final here Saturday night.
But after Patrick Goldsworthy’s three-point attempt for Edgewood misfired with six seconds remaining, McArdle escaped from the pile of bodies and dribbled out the final three seconds to secure the 44-42 victory.
In winning the battle of Badger South co-champions, Monroe (18-7) gained its third victory of the season over the Crusaders and its third straight trip to the state tournament. The Cheesemakers play Appleton Xavier (22-3) in the semifinals at 3:15 p.m. Friday at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Similar to Monroe’s other games against the Crusaders (19-5), this one was tight and came down to a final shot by Edgewood.
“I figured they might go for the three,” said McArdle, who also led Monroe with 11 points.
“I was down there boxing out (Derek) Braucht, and (Mitch) Tordoff got the ball. He was on the floor and kind of shoveled it to me, and I ripped it out of there.”
It was that kind of scratch-and-claw night both teams.
“Mitch definitely plays bigger than his size,” Monroe coach Pat Murphy said of McAdle. “He’s been like that ever since I have known him.
“I’m extremely happy he is on our team. He’s got a huge heart.”
With Edgewood (19-5) holding Tordoff to three points, after the 6-foot senior had scored 81 in the previous three games, Monroe needed someone to step up. In the first half, Michael Barrett of the Cheesemakers scored eight of his 10 points, but Edgewood led 26-22.
McArdle took over in the third quarter with eight points to give Monroe a 36-33 lead. The Cheesemakers also limited Edgewood to six second-half baskets in 19 attempts after Crusaders opened by making seven of its 13 first-quarter shots, including three of six three-pointers.
Edgewood rallied in the fourth quarter as Braucht, who scored 11 points, split two defenders to tie the score at 38-38 with a leaner in the lane.
Bryan Tordorff then answered with a three-pointer to keep Monroe in front, and after spreading the floor, Barrett got loose underneath for a lay-up that pushed the Cheesemakers’ lead to 43-38 with 2:15 left.
Edgewood again rallied after Monroe missed the front end of three free-throw opportunities and made just one of five free throws in the fourth quarter. But the Crusaders never could get over the hump.
On the final attempt after a timeout with 11 seconds left, Goldsworthy’s three-point try from the top of the key rimmed out.
“We had a set that we ran against them last time that I knew they would have scouted on us this time,” Edgewood coach Chris Zwettler said. “So we ran a little something different, and we put it in Patrick’s hands.
“We had people in position for a rebound. Our goal was to just get a shot off, and we did. But Monroe made the defensive stand and secured the ball.”
McArdle made sure no one took it away and dribbled out the final seconds right into a throng of Monroe fans.
“On March 1st, I got a fortune cookie at the World Buffet, and on that cookie it said: ‘No obstacles will come in the way of your success this month’ ” Murphy said.
“We found a way to win with plenty of obstacles in our way. That’s for dang sure.”
MONROE 44, EDGEWOOD 42
Edgewood (42)—Legman, 2-2-8; Armwald, 1-0-2; Braucht, 5-0-11; Eshun, 5-0-13; Wabers, 4-0-8. Totals: 17-2-42.
Monroe (44)—Sampson, 1-0-2; B. Tordoff, 3-2-9; M. Tordoff, 1-1-3; McArdle, 3-3-11; Barrett, 5-1-12; Grinnell, 3-0-7. Totals: 16-8-44.
Madison Edgewood 17 9 7 9—42
Monroe 12 10 14 8—44
Three-point—Edgewood 6 (Eshun 3, Legman 2, Braucht), Monroe 4 (McArdle 2, B. Tordoff, Grinnell). Free throws missed—Edgewood 2, Monroe 4. Total fouls—Edgewood 17, Monroe 11.