Titans dominate second half for Regional win

Marty Touchette

Just before the first half ended Monmouth-Roseville’s Martel Hunter soared high for the rebound of an errant Drew Cole 3-pointer. While still in the air Hunter shot the ball, which swished through the hoop as the buzzer sounded. It proved to be an omen of what was to come in the second half of the Titans 64-45 Regional semifinal victory over the Mercer County Golden Eagles.

The host team gave the Titans all they wanted in the first half, grabbing leads of 15-3, and 24-14 before Hunter’s basket made it 31-26 at the half.

The second half was all Titans as the visiting squad outscored Mercer County 38-14 after the break.

 A quick 6-0 run at the start of the second half set the tone. Alex Temple started things off, finding Tim Chick for a layup on the Titans first possession. Shortly thereafter Drew Cole came up with a steal near midcourt and went coast-to-coast to pull the Titans within one. Temple then came up with a steal of his own. His bucket put the Titans ahead for the first time in the game with 5:43 to go in the third.

The teams exchanged hoops before M-R’s Alex Bresnahan hit Chick with a bullet pass and Temple hit a trey in the span of 35 seconds to put the Titans up 39-35. By the end of the third M-R led 46-37. The Titans outcored the Golen eagles 20-6 in the decisive third quarter.

Any chance of a Golden Eagle rally was extinguished on a pair of Bresnahan passes, one to Trayvon Smith, another to Martel Hunter, midway through the final stanza. M-R led 53-41 and their intense pressure, keyed by Cole, kept the Golden Eagles on their heels forcing repeated turnovers and five counts.

Bresnahan led the Titans with 19 points. Chick added 13, Temple 10 and Garren Randolph six.

The Golden Eagles featured balanced scoring. Both Tanner Benson and Tanner Dunn had 10 points while both Tanner Matlick and Colton Wood added nine.

Twelve of Bresnahan’s 19 came in the first half as the senior kept the Titans in the game early.

M-R improved to 18-9 overall and will take on the winner of tonight’s Rock Island Alleman versus Rockridge game in the Regional final Friday at 7:30 p.m. Alleman ended the Titans’ season last year, while Rockridge upset the Titans 79-75 in the regular season finale for both teams last week.

Mercer County ended the season 12-16.