LEBANON — Chad Allen is moving on from Monroe High School’s girls basketball program. He’s reluctant to leave his players, but confident that he’s made the right decision.
The five-year Allen coaching era came to an end Wednesday night when his Hornets dropped their Division II sectional opener to Southwestern Buckeye League rival Valley View 41-36 at Lebanon.
“I announced to the girls last week that I wasn’t coming back next year,” Allen said. “I didn’t want them to think I was quitting on them during the year, and I didn’t want them to think I was frustrated whenever we would lose in the tournament.”
WEDNESDAY GIRLS BASKETBALL COVERAGE
He said his reason for stepping down is family-based. The Allens live in Batesville, Ind., and his youngest daughter will be a sophomore at Oldenburg Academy next year.
“I love all my Monroe players, but I’ve got to spend more time with my family and watch my daughter’s ballgames,” said Allen, who will continue to teach government and American history at Monroe. “Coaching here and living an hour away, it’s hard to get to her stuff. It’s just too much.”
His record with the Hornets was 68-49. Over the last three seasons, Monroe was 50-21.
“It’s been a great five-year ride,” Allen said. “They were 8-88 the four years before we took over. When I first took this over, everyone just automatically voted us the last seed. Now I think there’s some respect. Hopefully we’ve been able to stabilize things and put us on the map.”
The Hornets (13-9) were seeded fifth this year and lost six of their last nine games. Injuries wracked the team all season, and there wasn’t a single game where Monroe was at full strength.
“We were this injured and still won 13 games,” Allen said. “So that’s where our program is and that’s where our expectations are.”
Sophie and Katie Sloneker are the Hornets’ only two seniors. Sophie led the way with 11 points Wednesday, while Kylee Slone scored eight and Olivia Wells-Daniels added seven.
Monroe split with Valley View (17-7) during the SWBL Southwestern Division campaign and had a 36-35 lead in the last two minutes of the rubber match before the Spartans finished with a 6-0 run over the last 1:39.
“I just love my kids,” Valley View coach Steve Dickson said. “We knew it was going to be a great fight because we know each other so well, and my kids fought and battled hard. I’m pretty proud of them.”
The Hornets were just 11-of-25 from the charity stripe, 7-of-18 in the second half.
“We’ve been offensively challenged for a while now,” Allen said. “Our game plan was to take the 3-point line away from them, to get to the line 25-30 times and try to get them in foul trouble. We took the 3-point line away from them for the most, we got to the line 25 times, and we had the lead in the fourth quarter. We just missed too many free throws and breakaways, and they didn’t miss those things.”
Wells-Daniels grabbed eight rebounds for Monroe. Slone and Alyssa Beckett hauled in six apiece.
The second-seeded Spartans were paced by Lauren Legate (11 points, 16 rebounds), Chloe Smith (12 points) and Aubrey Stupp (10 points, nine boards). Valley View turned a 12-12 halftime deadlock into a 28-18 lead after three quarters.
“That’s a good team. Defensively, they’re solid,” Dickson said. “We were 5-for-20 from the field in the first half. A couple nice baskets got us going in the second half, but we faltered a little bit midway through the fourth quarter because of their defense.
“Overall, my bigs did a heckuva job inside. I think that was the difference,” he added of Stupp and Legate. “As good as their defense is, we held a pretty good team to 36 points. I would say our defense is pretty good too. We were pretty stout.”
Smith said she wasn’t surprised that her team played much better after the break.
“We really got motivated at halftime, and Coach Dickson helped us with that,” Smith said. “We really picked each other up and got our energy back. My teammates hit some pretty big free throws, and I’m really proud of them for doing that.”
Smith will continue her career at Urbana University next season. She’s the lone senior on Valley View’s roster.
“It’s strange being the only senior, but I don’t even think of it as anything different because I just think of us as basketball players,” Smith said. “I don’t even think of age. I would put any of our sophomores out there. I would put any of our freshmen out there. I would do that and expect them to play up to the potential that this whole team has.”
Claire Henson contributed six rebounds and four assists for the Spartans, and Abigail Dickson chipped in five assists.
Valley View will return to Lebanon on Monday at 6 p.m. to face fourth-seeded Bellbrook in a district semifinal. They won on each other’s floor during the SWBL Southwestern season.
Bellbrook topped No. 6 seed Alter 55-40 in Wednesday’s second game at Lebanon.
Valley View 4-8-16-13—41
MONROE (13-9): Sophie Sloneker 3 5 11; Alyssa Beckett 1 0 2; Sam Schwab 2 0 4; Olivia Wells-Daniels 2 3 7; Katie Sloneker 1 2 4; Kylee Slone 3 1 8. Totals: 12-11-36
VALLEY VIEW (17-7): Abigail Dickson 1 1 3; Chloe Smith 4 2 12; Claire Henson 1 0 2; Aubrey Stupp 2 6 10; Lauren Legate 4 3 11; Megan Black 1 0 3. Totals: 13-12-41
3-pointers: M 1 (Slone), V 3 (Smith 2, Black)