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Monroe Central broke its three-game losing streak against Yorktown last week and heads into tonight’s Mid-Eastern Conference game at Cowan with a modest 5-3 season record.

But Brock Morrison’s Golden Bears remain ranked for a reason.

Actually, the Bears are still highly-regarded for a couple of good reasons.

Let’s start with the team’s most recent victory, a 44-29 victory against Class 3A Yorktown.

There may have been a little extra motivation for Monroe Central’s seniors, who were facing their former coach Leigh Ann Barga, who took on a new challenge at Yorktown.

“We were really happy with our intensity and effort,” Morrison said about the win over Yorktown. “Our defense was able to hold Elizabeth Reece to just two points for the game when she is averaging 17 points.”

Morrison specifically praised the play of Brooke Bolton and Maci Shinn, whose assignment was to defend Yorktown’s top scorer.

Hannah Bolton led the Bears with 15 points, five under her average, in the low-scoring affair. Gabby Beckham added 11.

The team defense evident against Yorktown is one of the reasons Monroe Central is still one of the top teams in Class A.

The Bears are giving up 43 points a game, but consider who that has been against.

Frankton, Northeastern, Cloverdale, Union City, Winchester, Shenandoah and Yorktown - seven of the eight opponents - all have winning records. Three of their next four opponents have winning records.

Winchester had 60 points of offense against the Bears, the lowest output of the season for the Class 3A No. 3 Falcons. That’s the fewest points of the season for Winchester.

Here’s a stat for the Monroe Central faithful to hang their hats on - the Bears have held every opponent they have played to under their offensive average.

It’s a great sign for Monroe Central as the second half of the season looms.

So while Hannah Bolton continues her scoring assault and receives her deserved attention, remember that the other players are also playing some shutdown defense.

And when tournament time comes that defense is the name of the game.