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Monument Mountain 'Runs Out of Time' in Fourth Quarter of Quarter-Final

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print
11:18PM / Thursday, March 09, 2023

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Kenny Rogers scored 19 points and grabbed the most important rebound of the night Thursday to help the Springfield International Charter School boys basketball team hold off Monument Mountain for a 66-64 win in the quarter-finals of the Division 4 State Tournament.
Third-seeded SICS (22-2) had a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
But between Monument Mountain's surging offense and the Bulldogs' 6-for-17 free throw shooting in the fourth quarter, the Spartans battled back to make it a one-possession game in the closing seconds.
Khalil Carlson (game-high 20 points) scored in the post with 18.6 seconds left to make it 64-60, SICS.
After a timeout, the Bulldogs' Sam Fleming (19 points, 12 rebounds) was sent to the line for two shots with 17.7 on the clock.
He missed the first but made the second to give the Dogs a five-point cushion.
Kyle Wellenkamp (15 points) then drilled a 3-pointer at the other end to make it 65-63.
The Spartans were forced to foul again with 7 seconds left, and SICS reserve Ricardo Hylton scored his only point of the game on his second foul shot to give his team a three-point cushion.
Monument Mountain got the ball into the front court, but SICS fouled Griffin McElroy before he could get off a game-tying 3-point try with 4.2 seconds on the clock.
He made the first to get the margin to two points and intentionally missed the second. The rebound came off to the right side, where Rogers grabbed it and drew a foul with 2.5 seconds left.
He missed both his tries, but by the time the ball went out of bounds off a Bulldog, Monument Mountain inbounded the ball with .8 seconds, not enough time to get off a desparation try at the buzzer.
"We've been punched in the face all year long, and we keep coming back," Monument Mountain coach Randy Koldys said. "We did it again tonight, and we just sort of ran out of time at the end here.
"I'm really proud of my guys."
The difference in the game was a pair of first-half spurts by SICS to establish the lead it needed to get through the fourth quarter.
The first came at the end of the first quarter, when the Bulldogs scored eight straight to go ahead, 18-8, on a bucket by Rogers in the post.
Midway through the second quarter, SICS scored 10 straight to take its biggest lead at 33-18 when Rogers hit a 3-pointer with 2:03 left until half-time.
It was an 12-point lead (36-24) at the half, and Fleming scored seven points in the third quarter to help SICS stay on top, 56-46, after the strongest offensive quarter for both teams.
Koldys said defense and reboundig were the keys to holding the Bulldogs to just 10 points in the fourth quarter.
"I think just getting after it and getting a little more in passing lanes, keeping guys in front of us," he said. "We didn't do a very good job of keeping guys in front of us in the beginning, and that kind of hurt right there."
Carlson scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, when Monument Mountain shot 7-for-11 from the field.
Manny Brown finished with 14 points and eight assists, and Isaiah Keefner scored seven for the Spartans.
Josh Colon scored 15, and Jay'Len Lovejoy added 10 for Springfield International Charter, which awaits the winner of Saturday's game between Burke and Randolph in the state semi-finals.
As much as Thursday's loss stings for the Spartans, Koldys said the future looks bright for the program.
"[Senior] Kyle [Wellenkamp] did a wonderful job tonight," he said. "We had a junior and three sophomores in there for the whole second half. And they grew tonight.
"We'll hopefully see what they do over the summertime, and hopefully we'll get back here next year and go one step further."


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