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Monticello holds off Warwick in league matchup to end 2023

Yovanni Fields
Posted 1/2/24

MONTICELLO — It was the Thursday night before the winter break in the “pit” with both the Monticello Panthers and Warwick Wildcats looking for a win. With the Panthers at 1-2 in the …

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Monticello holds off Warwick in league matchup to end 2023


MONTICELLO — It was the Thursday night before the winter break in the “pit” with both the Monticello Panthers and Warwick Wildcats looking for a win. With the Panthers at 1-2 in the division and the Wildcats at 1-0 both teams knew this was an important game for their post season hopes.

With another packed house at the pit, you could feel the vibrations of every foot stomped on the bleachers and heard the rumblings of both sides going back and forth to hype up their teams during warmups. 

Both teams and fan sections seemed primed for the game, but by the final whistle it was Monticello that walked away with a 61-46 victory.

Off the jump ball Warwick was the first to score off a great inside feed to the forward Wils Siebert to get things started. The Wildcats downhill attack was instantly answered by Monticello’s Xavean Mitchell who went chest to chest with two defenders for a tough lay and brought the crowd to their feet. 

This downhill attack was the theme of the first half, as both teams pushed the ball in transition and fed the high post in the half court setting. 

The first quarter was ultimately Monticello’s, though, with a 19-8 lead, courtesy of Christian Brown’s nine points and Daevion Sandoval’s eight. The Wildcats had an even contribution of points to start the first with four of their five starters netting one basket apiece. 

The second quarter was more of the same as far as the downhill attacks from both clubs, but the half court sets were slowing disappearing with the speed of the Panthers and the unconscious shooting they put on display after back-to-back 3-point field goals from Rafael Liciaga that jump started the Panthers and their extremely efficient shooting performance shooting at a whopping 70 percent as a unit. 

The Wildcats would not go down without a fight though coming to the end of the half. With Senior guard Jordan Gill facilitating and controlling the tempo for the Wildcats, they were able to execute on the offensive end to outscore the Panthers 14-13 in the second quarter and go into halftime down 10 with a score of 32-22.

The Wildcats hoped to use that momentum to cut into the lead even more in the second half. 

With time running out in the game, and both teams going basket for basket, the lead for the most part remained the same throughout the contest with major contributions from Monticello’s brother duos of Christian and Judah Brown as well as Quenten and Rafael Liciaga, who turned up the defensive intensity when needed the most as well as pushed the ball in transition. 

Warwick seemed to get a boost of energy from Senior guard and forward Jordan Gill and Latrell Willis who had back-to-back tough buckets late in the third to try and give life to a last second fourth quarter push for the Wildcats who trailed by 10 still 46-36 at end of the third. 

With the clock set for the final 8 minutes both teams came out of their huddles as the crowd was all on their feet to cheer their teams to victory. 

Warwicks own Mike Molienlli started the quarter off with a tough basket at the rim and the teams were off to the races. Both teams decided to pick up full court presses. Monticello was looking to cause chaos and turnovers, and Warwick wasn’t trying to waste any more time and cut into this lead. 

Wils Siebert led the Wildcats with four of his 10 points coming in the crucial final minutes of the fourth with the help of Dallas Kaminski’s two points added towards the end of the game. Warwick ended up with a total of eight points scored to tie their first quarter production. 

Monticello was brought to the finish line behind a balanced 15-point effort of scoring between the Liciaga brothers, Xavean Mitchell, Daevion Sandoval and Joey Merton. The Panthers took the league win at home with a win over the Warwick Wildcats 61-46. 

With the win the Monticello Panthers moved back to .500 with a 4-4 overall record and 2-2 in their division with this win and the Warwick Wildcats are now 2-3 overall and 1-1 in their division. 

Game leaders were Christian Brown and Daevion Sandoval each with 14 points while Rafael Liciaga and Xavean Mitchell each added 11 for the Panthers. Latrell Willis and Wils Siebert each scored 10 points for the Wildcats. 

Coach Christopher Russo stated, “Tonight was one of our best performances. I’m very pleased with how we played from a unity standpoint after we struggled with that the other night at Washingtonville. It was a great response to a tough loss the other night, we shared as well as defended the ball very well, and I’m beyond proud of my boys heading into the break.” 


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