MONROE — Collin Barker and Kellen Baltazar led a third quarter barrage that carried Wilmington to a 65-56 win Thursday over Monroe.
Wilmington (6-2) led by three at halftime then hit 12 of 16 from the field in the third, with Barker scoring 12 as the Hurricane pulled out to a 17-point advantage.
Monroe made things tenuous in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter but WHS held on for the nine-point win.
Wilmington had not played a game in more than a week. The team had been off four days for Christmas, allowing team members to spend time with family, coach Jermaine Isaac said.
“We were concerned a little bit with how we’d come out,” he said. “We’re missing a guy, so we only have seven in the rotation right now, the bare minimum with the way our guys play.”
Barker finished with 26 points while Kellen Baltazar had 19. Cole Bernhardt grabbed 10 rebounds, Baltazar dished out four assists and Mike Brown Jr. had three steals.
Jordan Weller had 16 points for Monroe.
It was a furiously-paced first quarter with WHS holding the lead following an early 4-4 tie. Brown had two steals, leading to baskets by Luke Blessing and Brown himself. The Hurricane was unable to build on a 13-4 lead as the Hornets pulled within 24-20 in the second period. WHS was saddled with foul trouble as leading-scorer Barker and Brown both missed time with two personals.
Monroe was within three (27-24) at halftime but had no idea the Hurricane would overwhelm the court in the third. Barker and Baltazar were both 5 for 5 from the field in the third and Baltazar dished out three assists. Brown had a steal that started a 7-0 WHS run, making it 36-26. Bernhardt had a stickback in the run.
Baltazar closed out the third, finding the bank open from the top of the key with a three-pointer with 2.5 seconds to go. WHS led 56-39.
“Everything was within rhythm (in the third),” Isaac said. “We wanted to set the tone defensively, focus on getting stops. In the second we relaxed a little bit.”
But Monroe was not going to go down easily in front of its home fans. After a turnover-less third, Wilmington had five errors in the fourth and made just 3 of 8 from the field and 3 of 6 at the line. It was 58-49 when Bernhardt assisted on Baltazar’s basket then had a stickback to give WHS some breathing room.
December 30, 2021
@Monroe High School
Wilmington 65 Monroe 56
(56) MONROE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Weller 7-0-2-16 Taylor 1-1-2-5 Dean 4-3-0-11 Nolen 1-0-0-2 Hitchcock 2-0-0-4 Getrow 2-1-3-8 Deckard 1-1-0-3 Borneman 3-1-0-7 TOTALS 21-7-7-56
(65) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Blessing 2-1-2-7 Brown 4-0-1-9 Baltazar 8-3-0-19 Bernhardt 2-0-0-4 Barker 11-3-1-26 Griffith 0-0-0-0 Warix 0-0-0-0 Killen 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 27-7-4-65
FIELD GOALS: MON (21-41); WHS (27-50) Barker 11/15, Baltazar 8/11
3 PT FIELD GOALS: MON (7-17); WHS (7-13) Barker 3/3, Baltazar 3/5
FREE THROWS: MON (7-10); WHS (4-9)
REBOUNDS: MON-22 (Borneman 4 Dean 4 Nolen 4); WHS-26 (Bernhardt 10 Blessing 5 Barker 5 Brown 2)
ASSISTS: MON-10 (Weller 3); WHS-12 (Baltazar 4 Blessing 3)
STEALS: MON-4; WHS-5 (Brown 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: MON-3; WHS-3 (Bernhardt 2)
TURNOVERS: MON-13; WHS-11