FAIRBANKS-It was rematch between two Interior teams who are slated to make some noise in the 3A and 4A state tournament in March. The first time these teams met was in the Dimond Prep Shootout championship. It was the first "tough" game for Monroe. The second meeting turned out to be the toughest test of the season.
It looked like business as usual with Monroe leading 19-11 at the end of the first quarter. West Valley, however would not go away. The Wolfpack trailed just 27-21 at the half. Monroe was keeping them at bay by being aggressive on the offensive glass. Scotter Bynum made it a point for emphasis in his game leading the second chance effort for Monroe.
West Valley went to their patented 1-3-1 that slowed down Monroe in the Dimond Tournament and it worked again. West Valley got within four 34-30 in the third quarter. Monroe was not feeling it from three to say the least. The Rams went 4-23 from beyond the arc against the Wolfpack zone.
Monroe did get to the free throw line and had a 39-34 lead with five minutes left. The Wolfpack's defense was stout against the Rams but they couldn't convert offensively.
The Rams would win 45-36. It's the lowest margin of victory they've had all year. The previous low was 11 against Kodiak in the second game of the Joe T Classic. That was a 48-37 win for the Rams.
Other than the Kodiak Bears West Valley has been the only team this season to within striking distance of undefeated Rams in the fourth quarter. Monroe still hasn't lost a home game at Boileau Hall in three seasons.