By Michael Lindsay
The Monterey Wildcats (13-8, 1-0) opened District 5AA play with a victory Thursday night as they won at Bledsoe County( 6-5, 2-1), 80-68.
“The game and atmosphere were wild,” said Monterey head coach Lynus Martin. “They were 2-0 (in district play) and already beat Sequatchie twice. I think Bledsoe’s talented. I don’t care if it’s by one or 10, getting out of here with a win was what we needed. It’s been tough and we’ve played some good teams.”
Wildcat guard Tre Monette continued his highlight-reel season with a 42-point outburst in the victory.
“He leads us,” Martin said. “The guys are learning to seek him out a little better. He’s averaging about 31 per game, and that’s hard to do, especially when everybody knows you’re going to shoot.”
Freshman Will McCrary posted 17 points for the Wildcats as well.
Thursday’s showdown in Pikeville saw Monterey hold a narrow 19-16 lead after one period. The Wildcats looked poised to run away with the victory as they pushed their advantage to 41-29 by halftime. Monette had 26 first-half points.
The third quarter was all Bledsoe, however, as the Warriors outscored Monterey 26-15 to trail 56-55 after thee periods.
Bledsoe County broke through early in the fourth quarter and took a 57-56 lead over Monterey with 7:30 remaining.
A Monette jumper on the ensuing possession gave the lead back to the Wildcats (58-57) with 7:20 to go.
Bledsoe crawled back to tie the game at 62 with 5:50 to go before Monterey again took control, outscoring Bledsoe County 18-6 down the stretch to win by an 80-68 margin.
Up next for the Wildcats is a trip to Clarkrange on Friday.
“We need to get enough rest and know it’s a rivalry game,” Martin said. “They (Clarkrange) could’ve beat us at Monterey, and they’re going to give us their best effort.”
Monterey (80): Tre Monette 42, Will McCary 17, Weston Clough 9, Collin Fowler 4, Byron Borjas 3, Mekkiah Henry 3