MONROE — The Monroe Dragons punched their ticket to the Class 2A girls state tournament in Pendleton with a 58-35 win over Bandon behind the speed and scoring of their young players.
Freshman Rose Gwillim scored a game high 22 points to lead the Dragons.
“I saw the open shots and just took them,” she said.
The big (5-foot-10) freshman also led the team in blocked shots, including three in the fourth quarter.
Monroe started running right from the tip off with freshman Peyton Greene leading the charge. Greene fed the ball down low to Gwillim and Emily Stahl, who ended with 12 points, early on to give the Dragons the 14-9 first quarter lead.
“Our posts had a good game,” Monroe coach Tony Parker said.
Madison Ballard, who finished the game with 13 points, hit a pair of 3 pointers in the opening quarter to lead Monroe.
Due to the team’s depth, the Dragons were able to substitute frequently to give their starters a rest.
Late in the second quarter, Kyndal Martin stole the ball and scored a layin as the first half came to a close with Monroe out in front by a comfortable 31-18 score.
With less than two minutes remaining the third quarter, Monroe had three girls in double figures and kept the pressure on the out-manned Tigers.
“Our defense is so tough,” Parker said.
The Dragons’ defense has limited opponents this season to 30 points a game.
Monroe continued to limit Bandon to one shot in the fourth quarter, with Gwillim and Stahl crashing the boards then feeding the outlet pass to either Greene, Ballard or Kailey Martin.
As the clock wound down, the student body, who were on their feet throughout the game, began chanting, “Pendleton!” The crowd erupted in cheers when the final buzzer sounded and the celebrating by the team began.
Greene was excited about making a return trip to Pendleton, where the team struggled last year.
“We are going for the ‘ship,” she said of the team’s goal to bring home the championship.
Monroe has now won 22 games in a row after an early season loss at Kennedy.
“It’s a good streak,” Parker said. “We take them one at a time.”
Monroe will take on Lost River in their first game in Pendleton on Thursday. This will be the teams fourth meeting this season with Monroe winning the first three.
Monroe 58, Bandon 35
BANDON 9 9 6 11 — 35
MONROE 14 17 10 17 — 58
Bandon: Myrand 14, Frietag 13, Ferreri 4, Nemec 4, Reimer 4, Cartwright, Skeie
Monroe: Rose Gwillim 22, M. Ballard 13, Stahl 12, Kailey Martin 4, Kyndal Martin 4, Greene 2, R. Ballard 1, Holmes, Eastridge, Langley