Almost halfway through the slate of Illini Prairie Conference games, the St. Joseph-Ogden High School boys’ basketball team has yet to suffer a loss in league play.
The Spartans (15-6, 4-0 Illini Prairie) will look to keep that trend going when they host Monticello (12-9, 1-2) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night.
SJO carries a five-game win streak into its game with the Sages, fresh off a 79-44 win at nonconference foe Westville this past Saturday and a 56-49 home win against Prairie Central this past Friday night in conference action.
The Spartans had four players finish in double figures in its win against Westville, which saw SJO hold a 25-19 lead at the end of the first quarter that was expanded to 44-25 by halftime. The Spartans still held a 52-39 lead to start the fourth quarter, opening that period on a 13-1 run to quell any hopes of a Westville comeback.
Freshman Ty Pence delivered a team-high 19 points and team-high eight rebounds for SJO in its win against Westville. Senior Payton Grimsley came through with 16 points, while fellow seniors Jordan Kelly and Payton Cain each chipped in 14 points. Senior Chance Izard also pitched in by delivering six assists.
SJO used a strong second quarter and fourth quarter to push past Prairie Central last Friday night in which three Spartans hit double figures on the scoring column. SJO trailed 15-13 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored the Hawks 20-7 in the second quarter to take a 33-22 lead into halftime.
Prairie Central, however, trimmed SJO’s lead to 41-37 to start the fourth quarter and went ahead 43-41 early in the fourth quarter. But SJO responded with a 9-2 run to go up 50-45 with less than four minutes left.
Cain scored a team-high 14 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Izard tallied 13 points and four assists, while Pence contributed 10 points. Grimsley (seven points) and Kelly (six points) also made key buckets for SJO.
After Tuesday night, the Spartans are set to hit the road twice in two days this upcoming weekend. SJO will play at Pontiac at 7 p.m. on Friday in league play before taking on Auburn at 4:30 p.m. as part of the Illini Prairie/Sangamo Challenge that will take place at the Rocket Center in Tolono.