MONROE — Colby Kyle spent nearly the entire first half on the bench after picking up two fouls in the game’s first 2 1⁄2 minutes.
But with the 6-foot-7 Monroe star in foul trouble and a non-factor for half the game, senior guard Trenton Newhouse and a host of Bearcats helped fill the void.
Newhouse scored 19 of his game-high 29 points in the first half and junior guard Isaiah Cole added 14 points as Monroe earned a 70-58 Wesco 4A win over visiting Jackson on Friday night to sweep the season series between the two teams.
“I’m really proud of our guys,” Monroe coach Tyson Horner said. “We have a lot of respect for Jackson. It’s hard to beat those guys once, yet alone twice in one year.”
And even more difficult with a player of Kyle’s caliber out for virtually an entire half. But the Bearcats (11-4 overall, 6-3 league) were up to the task.
“I’m really proud of our bench,” Horner said. “They didn’t put up numbers that will show up on the box score, but they were playing fantastic defense and getting the ball to the right guy at the right time. … We feel like we’re really deep. We kept 14 guys this year for a reason, because we’ve got great kids at the end of the bench who are ready to go.”
The victory gives Monroe a two-game lead over Jackson and Lake Stevens for third place in the Wesco 4A standings. Jackson (9-6, 4-5) lost for just the second time in its last eight games.
Newhouse carried the Bearcats early on with three 3-pointers and 11 points in the first quarter to give Monroe a 15-11 lead. The senior standout added eight points in the second quarter and finished the night with four 3-pointers and 13 made free throws.
“I think his shot selection today was good,” Horner said. “He wasn’t forcing it. He was letting the game kind of come to him. He was coming off screens well and he has an uncanny ability to get to the free-throw line. He’s a guy who has lived in the gym his whole life and his fundamentals are sound, so we want the ball in his hands.”
Monroe held Jackson without a field goal for a stretch of more than 10 minutes in the first half, during which the Bearcats rattled off a 13-3 second-quarter run that pushed their lead to 28-14.
But Jackson, which got to the free-throw line with regularity, closed the half on a 13-5 spurt that trimmed the margin to 33-27. Jackson senior Ian Willgress scored eight of his 11 points in the first half to help keep the Timberwolves within striking distance.
Kyle returned to action in the third quarter and made an immediate impact, scoring all 11 of his points in the second half. Cole also sparked Monroe, scoring 10 points in a nine-minute span as the Bearcats stretched their lead to 52-37 early in the fourth.
“He’s an absolute sparkplug,” Horner said of Cole. “When he’s smiling and enjoying the game of basketball, we feed off of that. He takes care of the ball and he gets other guys going. So he’s a sparkplug for us, no doubt.”
Monroe kept Jackson standout Parker Manalo off the scoreboard for the game’s first 14 minutes and limited the senior to just four points in the first half. Manalo heated up in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his team-high 23 points in the final period to bring the Timberwolves within eight points on multiple occasions.
But Newhouse drilled a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 59-48 with 2:30 left to play and Jackson never got closer than eight points for the rest of the game.
“We all played well and we played as a team,” Newhouse said. “We had a lot of guys in foul trouble and everyone stepped up.”