William Monroe didn’t know Stuarts Draft had adopted a wide-open style of play reminiscent of Virginia Military Institute’s approach to the game that’s been written about by everyone from the New York Times to ESPN.com and again this year has the small school from Lexington at 10th in the nation in scoring.
The Dragons had heard rumors, but they weren’t sure what it looked like. After surviving it for 32 minutes and escaping with a 101-88 victory, Monroe has a pretty good idea.
Stuarts Draft pressed and trapped the entire four quarters while shuttling players in and out of the lineup like a hockey line change. They also unleashed a barrage of 3-pointers early in each possession. Monroe withstood the assault as four Dragons scored in double digits.
Gary Morris led Monroe with 27 points, Markell Williams had another 23 and Jordan Gentry finished with 14 points. Markel Faulkner had a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Slowing down Stuarts Draft by holding onto the ball isn’t a realistic option either as the trapping, zone-press look is relentless and eventually either leads to a turnover (Monroe had 18 Tuesday, which was a solid performance considering the amount of possessions they had) or an open lay-in.
It was likely a good primer for the Dragons who face a Charlottesville team that likes to run — in a more traditional way — Friday night at the Black Knights’ home floor.
Monroe is also due for a rematch with Stuarts Draft’s frenetic style next Friday in Stanardsville.