MONROE _ For the second straight game, a reserve delivered huge points for the Monroe girls basketball team.
Monday night against West Carrollton, it was junior forward Gracie Routson knocking down both free throws of a one-and -one to give Monroe a 40-37 lead with just nine seconds left. The Pirates then tried to set up a three-point shot, but the Hornets pressured the ball and got in the passing lanes and as time expired, senior guard Bethany Davidson came up with the steal to preserve the victory.
Routson totaled seven points.
"Gracie played very hard today, aggressively, and made those free throws at the end," said Hornet coach David Farrish, delighted that players off the bench again helped clinch a victory. "I think that's awesome."
Monroe is 2-0 overall (2-0 in the MML South) while West Carrollton falls to 0-4 overall (0-3 in the MML South). In Monroe's first victory over Franklin last week, reserve senior guard Sarah Basford hit a crucial three-pointer.
The Pirates' offense challenged Monroe's aggressive defense, which they changed up, from a trapping press to a 3-2 matchup zone and then to a 2-3 zone.
"We knew they were a little faster than us, but I thought that they were a quality team and they lost against three good teams," said Farrish. "They were a really good interior passing team, but also they made shots. So any time you make shots, it takes care of everything except the national anthem."
The game was tight throughout, with Monroe leading 20-19 at the half. The dogfight was 31-30 starting the fourth quarter, and the Hornets could never pull away.
For the second straight game, junior guard Sara Rossi was the leading scorer for the Hornets, this time with 13 points . Monroe sophomore center Chelsea Thompson was the only other Hornet scoring in double figures, with 11 points. Anne Messer and Cristina Spencer played tremendous games to pace the Pirate scoring attack with 13 and nine points respectively.
"I thought we played in a difficult situation and managed to win," Farrish said. "So any win is a good win."