Stoughton 6-foot-4 center Adam Hobson was going to be a handful for the Monona Grove High School boys basketball team when the two teams met in a Badger South Conference game Jan. 16.

However, just as big of a challenge was Vikings 6-foot-2 junior Cael McGee, who led all scorers with 25 points as the host Silver Eagles dropped a 53-42 decision.

Hobson, who has signed a letter of intent to attend Michigan Tech after graduation, poured in 23 points.

Monona Grove scored the first eight points of the game before Stoughton scored nine straight to take the lead.

A 3-point shot by Jordan Hibner put the Silver Eagles on top 13-9 with 10:44 left in the first half. MG head coach Dan Zweifel was encouraged the game was competitive in the first half when Stoughton, ranked No. 6 in the WIAA Division 2 rankings, led 21-19 heading into the locker room.

In the second half, MG’s hopes for victory gradually started to dim as the Vikings tallied 11 straight to lead 30-19. A basket and free throw by junior Connor Bracken reduced the lead to 37-29 at the 8:45 mark, but Stoughton scored another nine points in a row to build a 46-29 advantage with 4:30 left in the game. The Vikings opened a 53-33 lead before a nine-point burst by the Silver Eagles ended the game.

“The key to the game was they scored the first nine points of the second half,” Zweifel said. “The kids fought hard, but I don’t think our defensive intensity wasn’t the same in the second half as it was in the first half, and they were able to get a few baskets. It was one of those nights where in the second half, all the bounces went their way and not ours.”

Monona Grove had no double-figure scorers as junior Lance Nelson led with nine points, Hibner had eight and Bracken put in seven. Both teams made five shots from the 3-point arc as Nelson and Hibner each connected on two for the Silver Eagles, and Hobson hit three for the Vikings.

Monona Grove’s next game is Saturday, Jan. 25, against Sauk Prairie in the Badger Challenge at Madison Edgewood High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:20 p.m.

Pairings in the Badger Challenge are determined by the standings in the Badger South and Badger North Conferences with teams in the same position playing each other. Both the Eagles of the Badger North and Silver Eagles of the Badger South are in fourth place in their conferences with records of 4-3.

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