Monson blistering area gym nets

BLUE EARTH — In the Blue Earth Area boys basketball record books, the last name of Monson stands out at the top of the list for points scored in a single game.

On Jan. 13, in a nonconference game against United South Central in Wells, Buc senior center Luke Monson surpassed his older brother, Jon Monson’s single-game scoring record.

Jon Monson’s previous record of 39 points fell when Luke Monson poured in an impressive 44 points in a 77-76 overtime loss to the Rebels.

“It was one of those special nights. He did a great job shooting free throws and was just on fire,” said Blue Earth Area head coach Seth Anderson. “USC has a team of smaller guys, but our wings and guards did a good job getting him the ball inside that night.”

For Luke Monson’s efforts, he scored 30 of his 44 points in the second half, including 18 on traditional 3-point plays.

“I knew what my brother’s record was, and I’ve always wanted to break it,” said Luke Monson. “That night I knew I might be close, but in close games, I don’t pay much attention or keep track of how many points I have.”

Monson has scored more than 12 points in each game this season, following his 44-point performance with 40-, 37-, 22- and 32-point outings.

With his high-scoring performances and consistent play, Monson is averaging 27 points and 12 rebounds per game.

“I spent a lot of time in the gym this summer working on my shot,” said Monson. “Scoring has always come naturally to me, and I’ve always been a tall guy, but I wanted to be better this year.”

Last year as an All-Area and all-South Central Conference selection, Monson netted 14 points per game on 54-percent shooting from the floor. Monson also shot 61 percent from the free throw line as a junior, making 43 of 70 attempts.

The 6-foot-6 Monson also pulled down 108 rebounds last season.

In addition to his stellar scoring and rebounding numbers this season, Monson also has become more effective, shooting 63 percent from inside the arc and making 85 percent of his free throws.

“I think this season Luke has really improved. He is much better at reading situations, knowing what to do with the ball,” said Anderson. “He also worked really hard this summer on his defense and his shooting, and I think both of those things are helping him offensively.”

Monson’s efforts this season have helped anchor the Bucs’ junior-dominated roster, helping them mature on the basketball court.

“I think what is great about a player like Luke, is that he puts the team first,” said Anderson. “The night he broke the record I remember someone congratulating him on his achievement, and he said, ‘It was great but we still lost.’ That’s what makes him a great player to have on a team.”

The Bucs have lost a total of six games by six points or less this season en route to a 5-11 record, with three of those losses coming over the last three weeks.

Blue Earth Area will have a chance to earn more wins with five games left in the regular season and the playoffs just ahead.

“I think as the season has gone along, we have been working better as a team, and we are getting better each night,” said Monson. “It doesn’t matter how well I play or how many points I score in a game as long as we win.”

On Jan. 13, the Bucs may not have come away with a win, but Monson’s efforts earned him a place in the Bucs’ record books.