By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The fact that Regina’s early season losses to Clear Creek Amana and Monticello ended in the same score is merely a coincidence.
The way the games got to that final score were eerily similar.
For the second time in five games Regina (2-3) battled back from a late deficit to pull even but saw the opponent make the big plays late in a 61-58 overtime loss to Monticello on Tuesday in Iowa City.
Regina rallied from a 13-point hole in the final five minutes to force overtime but Monticello scored the final six points of the game to escape with the win.
The Regals rallied from a seven-point deficit but saw Clear Creek Amana score the final three points in a 61-58 season-opening loss.
Tuesday’s loss to the Panthers followed a similar script.
“In the fourth quarter, we saw the intensity level that we are trying to start a game with and play four quarters with,” Regina coach Stu Ordman said. “We have seen it in both of our losses at the end of the game. This game we started earlier to get that energy up and I’m proud of their effort but we have to have that for four quarters.”
Monticello (3-2) led 24-19 at the half and 40-27 after three quarters.
The Panthers appeared to have the game in hand when Avery Martensen sank a pair of free throws with 5:02 left to give Monticello a 46-33 lead.
Regina had other ideas.
The Regals scored eight unanswered points, pulling to within 46-41 on a steal and layup by Jocoa Kerschen with 3:36 left.
Monticello had seven of its 17 turnovers in the fourth quarter as Regina used a trapping full court press to get back into the game.
“We just made horrible decisions,” Monticello coach Tim Lambert said. “We didn’t value the ball the clock was our friend and we were making it our enemy by trying to go to fast.”
Regina cut the lead to 48-47 on a Ryne Schooley 3-pointer with 2:08 left and took its first lead since 11-9 when freshman Masen Miller connected on a 3-pointer from the wing on the next possession to make it 50-48.
Schooley had 13 of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter as Regina rallied but fouled out with 1:09 left.
After making nine field goals and scoring 27 points in the first three quarters combined, Regina went 9-of-13 from the field and scored 24 points in the fourth quarter.
“We wanted to get the ball inside somehow and we did a little better job of that,” Ordman said. “We did a little better job of guarding but there is still a lot frustration with that. We have a long way to go defensively.”
Monticello took a 51-50 lead on a driving layup by Kyle Sperfslage with 42 seconds left but Regina forced overtime when Even Brauns hit one of two free throws with 5.6 seconds left.
Regina led 58-55 with 1:44 left in overtime after a pair of free throws by Kerschen but wouldn’t score again as Monticello closed the game on a 6-0 run.
Monticello improved to 3-2 in RVC play and 2-0 against RVC south division teams after defeating West Branch 70-56 on Dec. 2.
Regina dropped to 2-2 in RVC play and hosts West Branch on Friday.
“I told the kids just now that if anybody would have told you before the season with us losing everybody we had that we would sweep Regina and West Branch on the road who are picked to win the South nobody would believe it but we play hard,” Lambert said. “I like our group they compete.”
Martensen had a game-high 25 points to lead Monticello.
Schooley led Regina with 21 points and Kerschen added 12 for the Regals which shot 46 percent from the floor.
“The silver lining is we have really good guys, they are high character guys and when they simple reach back into their reserve and go super hard they just about pull off a win against a really good team,” Ordman said. “It’s two edged, we have to practice like that we have to play like that from the beginning and we have to play with more poise.”
Regina 11 8 8 24 7 – 58
Monticello 9 15 16 11 10 – 61
Monticello (61) – Avery Martensen 9-14 4-7 25, Jacob Manternach 2-7 4-6 8, Taylor Manternach 0-1 4-6 4, Jordan Breashears 0-3 0-0 0, Alexander Nealson 1-3 0-0 2, Andrew Tjaden 1-1 3-4 5, Kyle Sperfslage 6-13 2-6 17, Team 19-42 17-29 61.
Regina (58) – Masen Miller 2-3 1-2 7, Jack Jensen 0-2 0-0 0, Jocoa Kerschen 4-11 3-5 12, Zach Seaman 2-4 0-0 5, Jake Phillips 1-4 1-2 3, Ryne Schooley 7-9 4-5 21, Sam Stein 0-3 1-2 1, Even Brauns 3-5 3-4 9, Team 19-41 13-20 58.
3-point field goals – ICR 7-19 (Masen Miller 2-2, Jack Jensen 0-1, Jocoa Kerschen 1-7, Zach Seaman 1-3, Jake Phillips 0-1, Ryne Schooley 3-4, Sam Stein 0-1) MON 6-12 (Martensen 3-4, J. Manternach 0-1, Sperfslage 3-7). Rebounds – ICR 27 (Kerschen 6), MON 35 (Martensen 8). Turnovers – ICR 16, MON 17. Total fouls – ICR 24, MON 15. Fouled out – ICR (Schooley, Brauns). Technical fouls – None.