Posted On: 01/31/17 11:10 PM
Monty Johal is the best scorer in the history of Glendale Basketball.
Johal entered Tuesday night’s game at West Plains needing just 14 points to pass Glendale legend Spud Harbour for first on the all-time scoring list.
So, Johal exploded for 51 points, a new single-game Glendale record, on what was a historic for the standout 2018 guard who also took his place atop the scoring list of one of the Ozarks’ most prestigious programs.
“I just started off on fire and my teammates just kept feeding me the ball,” said Johal. “They were all hyping me up and telling me to keep going,” said Johal. “I had like 45 to end the third and coach said I had one minute to break the record in the 4th and they got me the ball every possession. They gave me a ton of confidence.”
— Glendale Basketball (@GlendaleBBALL) February 1, 2017
Now it’s technically not his best game ever (Johal once dropped 56 points in a game as an 8th grader) but this is his biggest basketball accomplishment to date.
And as impressive as Johal’s 1,623 career points in 77 games is, the fact that he was able to surpass Harbour in 26 fewer games might be even more impressive. Furthermore, he’s done it against a schedule that is anything but a cakewalk, including four teams currently ranked in the MOBCA Poll and out-of-state foes Norman North (Okla.) and Miller Grove (Ga.).
But if you’ve seen Glendale play, you know that Johal’s scoring isn’t an accident; it’s part of how the Falcons play.
Few teams push the ball and create tempo offensively better than Glendale, which benefits everyone including Johal, but the Falcons collectively take pride in helping to create shot opportunities for Johal (26.8 PPG over the last two seasons).
It’s that unselfishness coupled with Johal’s unique ability to score efficiently that has created one of the best scorers in Missouri.
“I’ve never coached a kid that scores as easily as he can,” said Glendale coach Brian McTague. “I had Jeremy Dresslaer (now an assistant coach at Clever) at Clever who scored somewhere around 1,800 points for his career, but he had to grind points out. Monty makes hard plays look easy. I’ve given him as much freedom with the ball as anyone I’ve ever coached because he can make plays that most kids just can’t make. You can look at his percentages to see that he’s not just a volume shooter.
“We have a defined pecking order and the kids know that in order for us to be the best we can be, Monty needs to get a lot of touches. They do a great job of finding him and getting him the ball so he can score points for us, because that’s his job. Our kids really get along and like each other and we’re happy for him. He’s worked very hard to get where he is today.”
Johal and McTague have grown together…
Three years ago McTague challenged Johal in ways the then talented freshman hadn’t been challenged before. The two butted heads at times, growing pains for what has blossomed into a great coach-player relationship.
“I take everything as a learning lesson and freshman year was the biggest one,” said Johal. “Coach Mctague has always been really hard on me, but I know it’s for the greater good and because he wants me to improve as a player and play to the best to my ability.”
That relationship is at the core of the resurrection of Glendale Basketball.
Last year the Falcons won their first district championship since 2006 and their first Elite Eight berth since 1999.
Glendale now sits at 15-5 going into Tuesday’s Southside Showdown with rival Kickapoo.
The Falcons and Chiefs now share a district, meaning this could be the first of two matchups this season. Kickapoo, boasting D-1 signees Jared Ridder (Xavier) and Cam Davis (Navy), are one of the only programs in Southwest Missouri with the firepower to match Glendale point for point.
Poo has won the last four meetings and 21 of the last 24 games in the rivalry.
The Kickapoo game presents yet another opportunity for Johal to prove himself. Many in Southwest Missouri are baffled at the fact Paul Lusk and Missouri State hasn’t already offered one of the most prolific scorers in SPS history.
Johal’s 27.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.5 blocks have prompted programs like UW-Milwaukee, Toledo and Jackson State to offer already, with several additional D-1s – including LSU, Nebraska and Missouri – showing interest.
Following last year’s playoff loss, Johal made it a point to become a better all-around player particularly on the defensive end. The numbers reflect that commitment as the 6’3 guard is proving he is more than just an elite scorer.
While he is holding off making any decisions in the foreseeable future, Johal and the Falcons are excited to take on a Kickapoo team that hasn’t dropped an Ozark Conference game in Springfield since these Falcons beat them back in 2014.
“Kickapoo is our biggest rival and we will probably end up playing them in districts, so that makes the game even bigger,” said Johal. “The game means a lot because we get a chance at one of the best teams in our district which we will need to beat to get to our ultimate goal. Kickapoo has always had a really good team so it will for sure be a challenge.”
*Special thanks to Glendale Basketball enthusiast Patrick Dailey for the historical information*