LEE -- Up by 15 points heading into the fourth quarter, the fast-breaking Lenox boys basketball team nearly let its foot off the gas too much.
The Millionaires held off a fourth-quarter rally from Monument Mountain, winning 69-60 and claiming the South County Tournament championship Saturday at Lee High School.
Lenox used scoring runs in the first and third quarters to gain sizable leads over the Spartans. But, the Millionaires needed to convert free throws late to win the game.
"We were trying to slow it down [because] we were playing a pretty fast-paced game," Lenox coach Scott Sibley said. "We want to get it in their heads to push the ball. So it's hard to differentiate when they need to slow down."
A layup plus a foul shot by Monument's Brandon Perry cut the Lenox lead to 65-58 late in the fourth. With 30 seconds left in the game, Cam Powell made two free throws to cut the lead to five.
Monument, however, could not score again and four free throws iced the game for Lenox.
With starter Bobby Kinne out with an injury, Monument had difficulty stretching Lenox's zone. The Millionaires clogged the lane and used active hands in the passing lanes to create steals and start the fast break.
"Lenox played harder, extended their zone, and we really didn't shoot the ball very well," Monument coach Mike Saporito said. "We were down a couple key players, and we had a another injury during the game. It was just difficult circumstances."
Transition offense propelled the Millionaires to a 23-11 third-quarter burst. Bailey Patella had several highlight plays during the run, including a two-handed dunk, and a leaping touch pass to Ben Herrick, who converted a layup through contact. Herrick led the Millionaires with 18; Patella finished with 14.
"I think we can run really well this year," Patella said. "We're a little small so we have to run."
Despite being undersized, Kris Vahle added 11 points and 17 rebounds for the Millionaires, in addition to limiting Monument's go-to scorer Peter Oggiani to 13 points.
Powell did his best to pick up the slack for the Spartans, finishing with a game-high 22 including three 3-pointers.
At 3-1, Sibley said he's happy with his team's progress so far.
"It's a growing process. We have not played a full 32 minutes of basketball yet," he said. "I think tonight might have been the best we've played.
"We seem to take a couple minutes off here in there, but as long as they keep getting better instead of regressing, we can be happy with it."
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