PRAIRIE CITY The Dayville/Monument varsity boys finished their regular basketball season with a perfect 10-0 record after a decisive win over Prairie City 70-59, and sailing past Spray 45-20 last week.
The Tigers Thursday, Feb. 7, victory ended a five-game win streak for Prairie Citys Panthers, dropping their league record to 8-2.
With Seth Blakeslee out with knee injuries, the Tigers freshman guard Dakota Emerson stepped up as a major playmaker, hitting a career-high 17 points, while adding seven rebounds and five steals.
It was Emerson that really impressed me, said Dayville/Monument head coach Jeff Schafer. He stepped up to fill the shoes of Seth Blakeslee.
Jamen Schafer added 19 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers, who shot 43 percent from the floor.
The iron was unkind to both teams as the first quarter came to an end with the Tigers leading 15-10.
Jake Buce picked up three personal fouls early in the first quarter and was forced to sit out. With Buce sidelined, the Panthers were able to tie the game 27-27 at halftime.
We knew that if we weathered the storm until the third quarter, we would start to pull ahead, said Schafer.
That prediction proved true, as the Tigers surged midway through the third quarter. The Tigers conditioning led by the quick hands and hustle defense from Emerson sparked a 10-0 run for the Tigers.
Responding to the surge, Panther head coach Mark Woodbury called a timeout to set up a defensive stand.
Prairie Citys Cole Hoberg completed a two-handed monster jam that roused the student section, but the Panther offense continued to struggle against the Tigers conditioning.
With the clock winding down, Prairie City was trailing by 10 and Panther Mack Clark was called for a technical foul. That sealed the deal for Tigers.
With that win and the Feb. 8 victory over Spray, the Tigers secured the No. 1 spot in the league heading into this weeks district tournament. The Panthers, who had a 60-36 victory over Long Creek last Friday, are in the fourth seed for districts.
The District 1A-8 Tournament starts Thursday, Feb. 14, with a 2:45 p.m. scheduled tip time. Eight teams will advance to the tournament, with games held at both Grant Union High School and Prairie City High School.
The Tigers will face Huntington at 8:45 p.m. Thursday in Prairie City. The Panthers will play at Grant Union, competing against Adrian at 2:45 p.m. Thursday.