Nov. 30—CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Tigers nearly doubled their point total through three quarters in the fourth quarter alone to carry them past the Cubs of Monett 58-44 at Carthage High School Tuesday night.
In the season opener for both Carthage and Monett, it was exactly that — a season opener.
Both teams were stingy on the defensive end and both teams struggled to find their mark on offense.
"I thought we really embraced the identity we wanted to establish," Monett head coach Jeremy Neville said. "Especially with a new coaching staff and this being our first game. We want to focus on being tough and being hard to score against. ... I thought we did a good job of that in the first half."
At halftime, Monett led Carthage 18-15.
"Credit to Monett, they did a heck of a job of sagging off of us, taking away things at the rim and forcing us to shoot," Carthage head coach Nathan Morris said. "And we struggled early. Then us being able to press in the second half, I think we imposed our will a little bit."
Coach Morris added that the full-court pressure led to some momentum for his team. It caused more Monett turnovers. which, in turn, led to more transition opportunities for Carthage.
That may have been exactly what unfolded in the fourth quarter. With a 30-29 lead heading into the final stanza, the Tigers tallied 28 points behind six 3-point baskets.
Those six shots came on six consecutive possessions for Carthage and four came from sophomore Trent Yates and the other two from senior Clay Kinder.
In his first varsity action, Yates mentioned feeling good so he just kept firing away.
"I was a little nervous at first, but, I guess my team needed me," Yates said. "It kept going in so I just kept shooting. The crowd was making me pumped so I just kept shooting and shooting. My shot just felt good so I didn't stop."
Those 12 points off of 3-pointers carried Yates to a total of 16 on the night. and that scoring outburst has him ready for more.
"I guess my expectations are high now, just keep scoring at that level," Yates added.
Kinder had 8 fourth-quarter points and 13 in the game, but the Tigers were led by Justin Ray with 20.
Monett had two players in double-figures with Jason Garner totaling 18 and Blaine Salsman adding 10 more.
Garner led the team at the free throw line as well going 7 for 8. The team shot 12 of 13 overall.
The Tigers will host the 76th Annual Carthage Invitational starting next Thursday, Dec. 8, and ending on Saturday, Dec. 10. Monett goes to Seneca for the Seneca Invitational also from Dec. 8-10.