ANCHORAGE, AK-It was the highly anticipated showdown between Monroe and ACS for the 3A state boys title for the third straight year.
We witnessed what the Rams have been doing all year on the biggest stage. Rams players stepping up and making big plays.
The start was huge for Monroe as Scooter Bynum went off for 9 points in the first quarter-he finished with 16. The Rams were up 30-18 at halftime. But ACS made their run in the fourth led by Calvin Hoffman who had 14 and Jalen Terry who had 18. Augustus Simmers, the 3A player of the year, was a non-factor. Simmers scored seven poinst on three of 11 shooting.
Hoffman hit a three to cut to the game to four 51-55, in favor of Monroe,with 9 seconds left. Monroed head coach Frank O'Stanik was emphasizing free throw shooting to his team in the days leading up to the tournament and the Rams responded. Monroe made critical free throws down the stretch led by David Stepovich who had a game high 19 points. 11 of his 19 points came from the line.
The Rams win back to back 3A titles with a 60-52 win over ACS.
"It feels great man. It feels good and get out there and kick it to them. Everyone thought we were the underdogs coming out but we showed them. We showed them we're good," Monroe guard Tyler Wells said.
Scooter Bynum felt he redeemed himself in this year's championship game for Monroe.
"You didn't really see me the last two state championship games so I know I had to come play this year. And I did. So, we won it this year baby," Bynum said.
David Stepovich believes his team cemented a legacy of winners.
"Like, when people think about a team that won state, they think that they're you know, a good team. But when they win back to back, I mean they're a great team. They're gonna be talked about forever," Stepovich said.
O'Stankik was encouraged that his team was considered the underdog against the more talented ACS Lions.
"This year we were the underdog. In life I've always been better when I'm up against it than when I am not and I think my teams have been that way."
The Rams are already looking about a possible a three-peat. When asked what does a second straight title mean to you Bynum replied, "It means we gotta work hard and get a third one. That's what it means."