FAIRBANKS—The Monroe Catholic High School boys basketball team experienced a more physical game Wednesday than their dominating season-opening win a night earlier. However, the result was the same for Rams — another win.
Monroe captured a 70-40 victory over the host West Valley Wolfpack in the nonconference game, and the Rams’ second game of a string of five in a row in three locations.
The Rams, last season’s Class 3A boys state champions, opened Tuesday night with a 75-16 win over the visiting Eielson Ravens at Boileau Hall, and Monroe takes on the Houston Hawks at 3 p.m. today in the Service Cougar Tip-Off in Anchorage.
The West Valley girls made it a split, pulling away for a 52-29 win.
Monroe-W. Valley boys
Head coach Frank Ostanik is trying to pace the Rams amid a long season-opening week.
“We certainly tried to rest kids on Tuesday, and tonight we played 10-11 kids,” said Ostanik, who used 14 players against Eielson.
“Our starters were worn with three to four minutes to go,’” he added. “I think we’ll have a long day tomorrow and we’re hoping we can stay fresh and play a lot of guys tomorrow, and then we’ll be ready for two challenging games on Friday and Saturday.”
The Rams, though, weren’t ready Tuesday for the physicality of West Valley, a 4A program.
“West Valley did a great job of bringing a strong physicality to the floor and I don’t think we were focused,” Ostanik said. “We prepared our kids for that and told them about it, but when it happened it took us awhile to do what needed to do.
“I think we chipped away and handled it better as the game went on,” he added.
Tyler Wells scored a game-high 16 points for the 2-0 Rams, who also got 15 points from Scooter Bynum and 13 from David Stepovich.
Larenzo Graham guided the Wolfpack with 15 points and Forrest Clark contributed eight points.
The game marked the head coaching debut of West Valley’s Kimani Shotwell, a former Alaska Nanooks player.
Monroe-W. Valley girls
The Wolfpack manufactured 21 points in the first quarter, setting up the season-opening victory for the defending Mid Alaska Conference champions.
Hannah Mattson scored a game-high 14 points and Callie Franz provided 11 points for West Valley.
“We had a really strong start,” West Valley coach Steve Caciari said by telephone. “We moved the ball really well and our kids played excellent defense. We just created a fast tempo early on and established that.”
West Valley next plays in the Doc Larson Tournament in Wasilla on Dec. 27-29.
Alexis Gavora’s 13 points and Sara Hajdukovich’s eight points led the Rams. Monroe was coming off of Tuesday’s 29-25 home loss to Eielson.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.