MONTICELLO — Time of drought: 23 minutes, 10 seconds.
That’s how long it was between field goals for Monticello. The result was predictable.
Top-ranked Cascade smothered Monticello with its zone and cruised, 35-20, in a Class 2A regional semifinal girls’ basketball game Friday night at Monticello High School.
“We just focus on keeping teams down,” said Cascade post Holly Hosch. “We rely on our defense first.”
The Cougars (23-1) will face Mount Vernon in a regional final Monday at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The winner advances to the state tournament.
Mount Vernon (21-3) dismantled Sigourney, 61-27.
Cascade exorcised some postseason demons against Monticello, which ousted the Cougars in the postseason in 2007 and 2008.
“You can’t think about that,” said Haylee Hoffman. “If you do, it gets in your heads.”
Monticello was in good position for much of the first half. The Panthers (18-7) held a 12-10 lead when Bailey Bone converted a layup with 7:30 left in the second quarter.
They didn’t score from the field again until Kaci Welsch swished a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left. In the game.
“Mentally, we just froze,” said Monticello Coach Donnie Kremer. “We played too tentative and quit attacking.”
Cascade led, 16-13, at halftime, then blanked the Panthers in the third quarter to open a 25-13 advantage.
“The kids were just working hard on defense,” said Cascade Coach Mike Sconsa. “Monticello moved the ball well, but we always seemed to have a hand in their face.
“It started with our defense, then we started to settle down on offense.”
Monticello shot 5-of-32 from the floor (15.6 percent) and committed 20 turnovers.
Hoffman tallied nine points to lead all scorers. Hosch added six points and 10 rebounds. Maggie Reiter also grabbed 10 boards.
Welsch led Monticello with five points.